UN Women & BPW

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

UN Women was established in July 2010 as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system which focus exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment:

  • Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)
  • International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
  • Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)
  • United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

UN Women accelerates progress on meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide. It works globally to make the vision of the ↗︎Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life.

BPW Collaboration with UN Women

1. Gender Equality and Sustainable Development Goals

Gender equality is fundamental to deliver on the promise of sustainability, peace and human progress.

UN Women’s flagship report in 2018, ↗︎Turning Promises into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, takes a look at all 17 SDGs, showing their impact on the lives of women and girls and highlighting how the different dimensions of well-being and deprivation are deeply intertwined.  It spotlights inequality and challenges faced by women and identifies significant gaps for women’s empowerment and opportunities for gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

With 2017-2020 triennium theme “Empowering Women to Realize the Sustainable Development Goals”, BPW International pledges and work in support of SDGs and to meet the challenges to bridge these gaps.

2. Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs)


The ↗︎Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are 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

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

> Read more on BPW works to promote WEPs

3. Ongoing Collaboration on Empowering Women

United Nations has many landmark agreements to empower women and improve status of women, such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action  (BPfA) and ↗︎Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).  

International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) works closely through our representatives to the United Nations and through our BPW affiliates to support, implement and follow up on the review of progress for decades.   

BPW Affiliates continue to conduct projects to empower women to meet goals set in BPfA.  Some of our BPW Affiliates also work with other NGOs to prepare CEDAW shadow reports of their countries.


BPW representatives attend UN meetings in various offices world-wide: New York, Geneva, Vienna and other UN regional offices.  However, one of the most popular annual activities for BPW is to attend Commission on Status of Women in New York annually.

> Read more about BPW & CSW