21st Century: ‘Asian Century’, ‘Women’s Century’- Achieving Full Economic Potential through Gender Equality
Special Session I 14:00-15:20 (Grand Ballroom, Haevichi Hotel and Resort, Pyoseon) MC: LIM, Jong Ryung (Associate Professor, Seoul University of Foreign Studies Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation)
Freda MIRIKLIS (International President, BPW International
Freda MIRIKLIS (International President, BPW International)
CHO, Dong-Sung (Professor, Seoul National University)
The 21st century has been called both 'the Asian Century' in regard to economic development and 'the Women's Century' from a standpoint of women's empowerment. What does this mean for Asia? How can these two concepts be reconciled, in a region that is lowly ranked for gender equality according to reports by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], World Economic Forum (Davos) [WEF] and the Asia Society.
At the 5th Annual Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) event this year, in his closing remarks, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requested more engagement of the WEPs by the private sector and stakeholders. He challenged participants in the room to "reach out to at least three business leaders in your network and encourage them to join the Women’s Empowerment Principles".
The WEPs are a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact and provide a “gender lens” for the private sector and are informed by real-life business practices that can assist companies to create or tailor existing policies and practices in the workplace, market place and community.
While much has been accomplished through the integration of principles and actions on corporate responsibility, diversity and inclusion, the full participation of women in government, and throughout the private sector – from the CEO’s office to the factory floor to the supply chain – remains unfulfilled.
Now is the time for action and to ensure that the Post-2015 Development Agenda has gender equality and women's empowerment front and center. The Women’s Empowerment Principles, Equal Pay Day Campaigns and the Global Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors are key policy based initiatives of BPW International.
For the world to truly be able to achieve peace and prosperity a road map and plan of action is required. BPW International believes that these organizational priorities can accelerate peace and prosperity in order for “the Asian Century” to become the “Women’s Century”. The more that gender equality is achieved, the more that women are empowered, the higher the GDP and general economic success of the nation. Asian Century, Women's Century: perhaps it is time for Asian women to lead the way.
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