UN, US Chamber of Commerce, W20 Leverage CSW 61 to Convene on Women’s Economic Empowerment

Thursday 30th March 2017

Leveraging momentum around the 61st Commission on the Status of Women, which took place March 13 to 24 at UN Headquarters in New York, several organizations held productive meetings on the topic of advancing women’s economic empowerment. The first such event, held on March 13, was organized by the Women 20, an engagement group of the G20 that is currently chaired by the German government under its G20 Presidency.

The W20 event, “Diverse, Resilient and Viable – Empowering Women through the G20,” focused on how the W20 is working with the G20 on key issues relating to women’s economic empowerment. Panelists at the event included elected representatives from the German and UK Parliaments, members of W20 Germany team, as well as Meg Jones of UN Women and Elizabeth Vazquez of GBA member WEConnect International, who ably spoke about the importance of getting women into supply chains. The event offered insights on how the G20 goal of reducing the gender gap in participation in the labor market 25 percent by 2025 can be achieved and how the quality of women’s employment can be improved.

The need for more and better sex-disaggregated data to achieve these goals was stressed throughout, with panelists noting that lack of data on women leads to women being ignored in policy decisions. This leads to increases in gender gaps, including the financial inclusion gender gap. The data theme continued at the March 15 convening of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, United Nations Office for Partnerships, UN Women, and the UN Global Compact for the Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum, “Measuring Success, Making It Count: Business Investing in Women and Girls.” The event explored the role of the private sector in achieving these goals, and GBA CEO Inez Murray shared the results of the GBA’s first-ever publication of aggregate data on the performance of the Women’s Market for member banks. Among other findings, the report shows that women are good savers, loyal customers and repay their loans at a higher rate overall, yet despite this remain under-represented across banks’ portfolios. During her presentation, Inez highlighted the critical role that sex-disaggregated data has in encouraging leaders to make smarter business decisions and in getting buy-in from the top, which our partnership with Data2X addresses.

Inez and author, journalist and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations Gayle Tzemach Lemmon then had a fireside chat where they discussed the importance of women’s financial inclusion to sustainability and business models that create opportunities for women.

“We’re battling the narrative that [women’s economic empowerment] is a pet issue,” Lemmon said. “Half the population is not a special interest group.”

To learn more, visit the US Chamber of Commerce website.