Women's Empowerment Principles

Promoting Women’s Empowerment Principles 


The Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are the initiatives of UN Women and UN Global Compact.  It consists of a set of 7 Principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The WEPs are built on existing standards, initiatives and best practices related to business and women, and seek to fill gaps to present a coherent vision for business to maximize the positive impacts and minimize negative impacts on women.  

  • 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 nondiscrimination
  • Principle 3: Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
  • Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for women
  • 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 equality

           More WEPs information can be found at: http://www.weprinciples.org

BPW works to promote Women’s Empowerment Principles

Since UN Women and UN Global Compact launched WEPs on 8 March 2010, BPW International has been working in partnership with them to raise awareness about WEPs and encourage BPW affiliates to invite CEOs in their countries to sign Statement of Support.

1. Raise Awareness:

BPW International and BPW affiliates assists the UN in promoting WEPs at BPW national conference, regional conferences and International Congress during 2011-present. The following three Congresses also promote WEPs through talks and workshops:

• The 27th BPW International Congress in Helsinki, Finland in 2011
• The 28th BPW International Congress in Jeju, South Korea in 2014
• The 29th BPW International Congress in Cairo, Egypt in 2017

2. Advocate for WEPs

Several BPW Affiliates successfully advocate for WEPs and encourage CEOs in their countries to sign Statement of Support. BPW International also recognized their outstanding advocacy efforts through BPW Power to Make a Difference Awards.

Highlight of award-winning BPW affiliates based on their advocacy work on WEPs:

• WEPs & BPW New Zealand
• WEPs & BPW Canada

WEPs & BPW New Zealand

New Zealand is pioneering different approaches within the WEPs framework and aims to see as many employers as possible adopt and monitor a gender equity strategy within their organization.

From its inception in New Zealand in 2012 BPW NZ has been one of the key promoters of WEPS.
  • UN WEPs Committee: New Zealand has a collaboration of five organizations promoting and administering the WEPs: BPW NZ, UN Women, Human Rights Commission, Diversity Works NZ and Zonta International District 16. BPW NZ Immediate Past President Vicky Mee is Chair of the UN WEPs committee in New Zealand.
  • WEPs programme includes panel events for the signatory community to discuss the implementation of workplace policies and events are live streamed to regional areas. The committee has regular face to face meetings and phone calls with signatories.
  • Annual survey is conducted to allow signatories to measure their implementation of the seven principles and to set quantitative targets for the coming year.
  • WEPs White Camellia awards are held annually to celebrate best practice for each principle.
  • Toolkit on gender equity implementation: BPW NZ is aware of the need for such a resource as many businesses, particularly small and medium businesses, are keen to become WEPs signatories but are hesitant because they are unsure of the steps to take to address structural issues. The toolkit was developed in 2016 as a practical guide to implement the WEPs gender equity strategy for NZ signatories. Case study, best practice examples and resources are also provided. This toolkit was launched in several cities (such as Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Gisborne) and also regionally.
The up-to-date list of WEPs NZ Signatories appears on the web site, www.weps.org.nz. This list includes companies as well as non-profit organizations.

With their Advocacy works on WEPs, BPW New Zealand received two BPW Power to Make a Difference Awards: Excellent Advocacy for WEPs (2014) and Excellent Advocacy for Women (2017).

For more information, visit www.bpwnz.org.nz and www.weps.org.nz

WEPs & BPW Canada

BPW Canada has demonstrated a commitment to promote the Women’s Empowerment Principles in Canada since 2011.

  • In 2011, BPW Canada formed a committee to train and develop a network of Women’s Empowerment Advocates across their network of clubs. This awareness campaign was designed to introduce the WEPs to corporations across the country and obtain support for the program. During 2011-2013, signatories were obtained for the UN WEPs program, with 5 of the 13 registered Canadian signatories being obtained by the BPW Canada WEPs committee.

    The process of obtaining signatories and registering them with the UN CEO WEPs program brought to light, that many stakeholders were excluded from participating as they did not meet the size or type of industry criteria to become a signatory.

  • In 2014, BPW Canada established the Canadian Coalition to Empower Women (CCEW) with permission of UN Women & UN Global Compact. This expanded the application of the Women’s Empowerment Principles across Canada to include government, academia, civil society, as well as small enterprises (many of which are women owned) and business and labour associations. The CCEW published a “Guide to Establish a National Strategy to Empower Women” that can be easily adapted for use in countries around the world.

    As of March 2018, 104 signatories have been obtained with over 70 additional prospects identified for further contact. Providing signatories ongoing support as they begin to advance their commitment to gender equality is key to creating meaningful change. We are pleased to report that we are beginning to see provinces across Canada and the Canadian Government itself, show leadership in placing gender equality at the top of the agenda.

  • BPW Canada also worked in partnership with the Edwards School of Business to design the Empowering Women Leaders Program to incorporate the WEPS And promote an inclusive climate in business.

  • Most recently the CCEW and BPW Clubs piloted the first Women’s Economic Empowerment Community Building event that brought together representatives from all three stakeholders groups to collaborate on building communities where women and girls are empowered and thrive. A Guide to Hosting a Women’s Economic Empowerment Community Engagement is available for any stakeholders to use.

    With this work, BPW Canada won BPW Power to Make a Difference’s Excellence Advocacy for Women Award in 2017.

    For more information, visit https://bpwcanada.com and https://ccew.ca
3. Participate in Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum

15 March 2018

BPW International President Amany Asfour and several BPW members attended Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum, which was held during the 62nd Session of Commission on Status of Women on 15 March 2018.

For more information:

WEPs Web site: www.weprinciples.com
WEPs in New Zealand: www.weps.org.nz
WEPs in Canada: ccew.ca