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Women's Empowerment Principles - 2014

Resolution Number:200.20.32
Club:BPWO Board

BACKGROUND: Undervaluing of Women in the Workforce
With the continuing economic downturn it is clear that the “TIME IS NOW” to utilize all societal and economic assets to leverage the untapped potential of over 50% of our workforce, women. Comprising over 50% of the graduates from Ontario’s universities, employers will realize their return on tax dollars and benefit by fully engaging post-secondary educated women. Despite legislated policies that support the universal precept that gender equality is a fundamental human right, we have not yet realized a life where opportunities are open to everyone, regardless of gender.
The Women’s Empowerment Principles offer a blueprint by which we can bring about the necessary cultural and behavioural changes in the workplace. Employers and Governments who explore these seven principles will find new perspectives and new opportunities to create a workplace where women are empowered and equal in employment, and can establish a prosperous and just community and society.
Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors and throughout all levels of economic activity is essential to build strong economies; establish more stable and just societies; achieve internationally agreed goals for development, sustainability and human rights; improve quality of life for women, men, families and communities; and propel businesses’ operations and goals. Ensuring the inclusion of women’s talents, skills, experience and energies requires intentional actions and deliberate policies.
The Women’s Empowerment Principles, a partnership initiative of UN Women and UN Global Compact (UNGC ), provide a set of considerations to help the employers focus on key elements integral to promoting gender equality in the workplace. Enhancing openness and inclusion throughout corporate policies and these principles provide a “gender lens” through which governments and business can survey and analyze current practices, benchmarks and reporting practices.
Despite the progress of UN Women and the UN Global Compact, with more than 8,000 business participants and other stakeholders involved in more than 135 countries, women continue to confront discrimination, marginalization and exclusion, even though gender equality stands as a fundamental human right. Canada has affirmed this value through the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995 and the Millennium Declaration adopted in 2000. These conventions help shape Ontario’s common values.
Gender economic parity can be accomplished through the integration of principles and actions on corporate responsibility, diversity and inclusion, the full participation of women throughout the private sector – from the CEO’s office to the factory floor to the supply chain. Current research demonstrating that gender diversity helps business perform better signals that self-interest and common interest can come together. UN Women, the UN Global Compact, other leading UN agencies, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, reinforce these findings.
Governments also recognize that women’s inclusion drives development, and acknowledges that achieving the Millennium Development Goals and national economic and development plans requires rapidly moving towards gender equality. In a globally interdependent political, social and economic environment, partnerships play an increasingly vital role to: Create a vibrant business environment involving a broad spectrum of actors, collaborators, contributors and innovators to open opportunities for women and men; and Enable the active and interactive participation of governments, international financial institutions, the private sector, investors, nongovernmental organizations, academia and professional organizations to work together
Ontario Gender Wage Gap
In Ontario women continue to earn, on average, 13% less than men. This translates to Ontario’s women working until April 16, of the subsequent year to earn what men have earned by the end of the current year. It also results in women in Ontario working 13 years longer than men in Ontario to retire with the same income. Resources:

RESOLUTION: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Business and Professional Women of Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, to adopt the UN Women and UN Global Compact – Women’s Empowerment Principles:
a) to shape all Government policy, b) to shape all Ministry procedures ,
c) to use when contracting outside resources for Ministry business.
These are:
Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality

Principle 2: Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support
human rights and non-discrimination

Principle 3: Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men

Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for

Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing
practices that empower women

Principle 6: Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy

Principle 7: Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Business and Professional Women of Ontario urges the Government of Ontario and in particular the Minister of Labour, to set goals for closing the gender wage gap in Ontario, by creating legislation to adopt the Women’s Empowerment Principles; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Business and Professional Women of Ontario urges the Government of Ontario and in particular the Minister of Labour, to set goals of Government and Business compliance for the adoption of the Women’s Empowerment Principles by the year 2017.


©BPW Ontario

Article ID: 4373