Leave no one behind

(September 22, 2016 – NEW YORK) The UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment presented its first report, “Leave No One Behind: A Call to Action for Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment,” to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at an advocacy briefing during the 71st session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday. The purpose of the report and briefing is to address issues and find solutions that will eliminate legal barriers to women’s economic empowerment, reduce gender pay gaps, ensure financial and digital inclusion, and foster female entrepreneurship.

“I’m thrilled to serve on the UN High Level Panel, because it’s an opportunity to find real solutions and inspire meaningful change for women on a global scale,” said Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International. “This report is just the first step in identifying ways governments, the private sector and civil society can collaborate in support of women and the countless ways women contribute to a sustainable, inclusive, global economy.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established the High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment in March 2016. Consisting of representatives of government, business and civil society and co-chaired by Luis Guillermo Solis, President of Costa Rica and Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO IKEA, Switzerland, the High Level Panel was charged with supporting and providing guidance on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to improve economic outcomes for women, and promote women’s leadership in driving sustainable, inclusive, gender-responsive and environmentally sensitive economic growth.

The first Panel report published today, offers several concrete steps for overcoming and eliminating obstacles to women’s inclusion in the global economy. WEConnect International, for example, committed in the report to take action to:

  • Scale work with corporations to increase sourcing by an additional US$10 billion annually from women-owned businesses globally by 2020;
  • Build the growth capacity of women business owners in more than 100 countries through education, registration, certification and access to buyers;
  • Work with Oxfam, SEWA, and WIEGO to link collective enterprises of women informal workers to export markets and global value chains on fair terms;
  • Build the capacity of governments to source more from women suppliers and to help create an enabling environment for women business owners to innovate, scale up and create jobs; and
  • Build government capacity to collect sex-disaggregated data on women-owned enterprises through business registration and the local economic census.

WEConnect International identifies, educates and certifies women’s business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women, and connects them with member buyers. WEConnect International members are committed to inclusive sourcing and represent over US$1 trillion in annual purchasing power. WEConnect International supports and promotes women-owned businesses in over 100 countries.

CONTACT: Cate Urban | Director of Communications | WEConnect International |curban@weconnectinternational.org | +1-202-810-6009