Demand Grows for Ending Gender Inequalities

Mar 3, 2017

Profit and equality go hand-in-hand. Citizens, Government, United Nations and private sector leaders call on all organizations to create policies that advance gender equality.

Glass ceilings and gender gaps were challenged at today’s Women, Organizations and Growth event hosted by United Nations Development Programme Indonesia (UNDP) today. 

The event, in the lead up to International Women’s Day, coincided with the launch of UNDP’s Gender Equality Strategy 2017-2020.

H.E Yohana Susana Yembise, Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection opened the event by highlighting gender gaps in leadership at the village and district level. “Only 77 out of more than 500 districts lead by women and there are no women Governors of Indonesia’s 34 provinces,” she said. She highlighted women’s potential for contributing to the economy if everyone plays a part. “The Government cannot achieve gender equality alone – we need all organizations including private and United Nations to work hand in hand”

Panelists featured Sintesa CEO Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, Director/Counsellor (Development) of the Embassy of Canada Sharon Armstrong, Deputy Country Director Francine Pickup. Actor and United Nations SDG Mover for Gender Equality Hannah Al Rashid moderated the panel. SDG Mover and DestinAsian Publisher Ronald Liem MC’d the event.

“Business is not just about profit. We have to think about Sustainable Development Goals.” Shinta Widjaja Kamdani said, emphasizing the importance of “people, profit, planet”. Kamdani has worked hard to create a working environment where women can develop professionally in her company. She recommended everyone create a gender equality strategy in their home and work lives so all women can lead and thrive. In her discussion she spoke on challenges and criticisms she has overcome as a successful business woman. “I have fought to show others: Yes I’m a woman and I’m able to lead you.”

Sharon Armstrong commented on Justin Trudeau’s “feminist” foreign policy, taking the lead on closing gender gaps. “Prime Minister Trudeau has reinvigorated the gender equality debate. Throughout my career, I’ve found we don’t talk with men enough. We need everyone in the discussion,” she said, emphasizing the need for more male role models in the debate. When it comes to making business perform optimally, “Gender equality is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.” 

Francine Pickup discussed UNDP’s gender-aware approach to sustainable development. She said that gender-blind programmes that fail to see the specific challenges that women face risk excluding women and ultimately, will fail. With regards to women leadership across organizations, including the United Nations she noted: “The higher you go the fewer the women. We have to question gender norms and involve champions for more equal gender relations.” She discussed the new Gender Equality Strategy that will challenge and guide UNDP in every part of the organization, while providing practical advice to organizations. This includes: rejecting shortlists without women when hiring staff, flexible working arrangements to reduce work-life pressures, and ensuring women don’t limit career aspiration because of family responsibilities. 

The energy in the room today was palpable, with audience members tweeting questions and comments using #PerempuanBiz. This was evidence that the private sector, civil society and youth organizations are primed to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 5.  

Read UNDP’s Gender Equality Strategy 2017-2020

Follow today’s social media activity on Storify

Photos from today’s event here

Contact information

Isabel Dunstan
Communications Officer

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