Women’s empowerment is widely recognized as a critical pillar of sustainable global development. The Sustainable Development Goals have placed women’s empowerment at the top of the global development agenda, both through Goal 5 and as a catalyst to achieving each of the other 16 goals. In particular, women’s economic inclusion is seen as a pathway to large-scale poverty alleviation and wide-ranging improvements in health and social development for individuals, families, communities, and countries.
Evidence is also mounting that investing in women can improve business performance. Many studies have demonstrated the market opportunity women represent as suppliers, consumers, and workers in the global economy, as well as the benefits of increasing gender diversity among employees, management, and leadership.
With this backdrop, companies are increasingly dedicating resources and setting public commitments to women’s progress. However, there is little evidence that these investments are having the desired impact, little data exists on what is working and what is not, and very few programs have presented cross-industry solutions or opportunities to scale.
The challenges facing women globally and the potential benefits for business are too large to address through siloed efforts focused on individual aspects of women’s empowerment. There is much more the business community can achieve by working together to harness the potential presented by women’s advancement.
Download an overview of the Business Action for Women Collaborative Initiative.