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Black Tie International:
ECOSOC: Engaging Philanthropy to Promote Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, United Nations, NY
 

 



Engaging Philanthropy To Promote
 
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Photos by:  GMK/Black Tie Magazine

 

ECOSOC’s special event on
 “Engaging philanthropy to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment”,
 was  co-organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and
 Social Affairs (DESA),
the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), in collaboration with the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP).

www.un.org/en/ecososc

Ms. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Amir Dossal, Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships

Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the

Ms. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Amir Dossal,
 Executive Director of the United Nations Office
for Partnerships

Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the
 United Nations

 
Ms. Zainab Salbi, Founder and CEO, Women for Women International Mr. Alan Hassenfeld, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Hasbro, Inc.
Ms. Zainab Salbi, Founder and CEO, Women for Women International

Mr. Alan Hassenfeld, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Hasbro, Inc.

 
Kristen Dalton, Miss USA 2009 Ms. Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning actor

Kristen Dalton, Miss USA 2009

Ms. Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning actor
and Founder

 
Ms. Maria Livanos Cattaui, Board Member, Petroplus Holdings Mr. Charles Moore, Executive Director, CECP, NY and Sherryl Kazan

Ms. Maria Livanos Cattaui, Board Member, Petroplus Holdings

Mr. Charles Moore, Executive Director, CECP, NY and Sherryl Kazan

 
Ms. Wendy Diamond Ms. Francine LeFrak, President and Founder, Same Sky, NY.  Representative, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

Ms. Wendy Diamond

Ms. Francine LeFrak, President & Founder, Same Sky, NY.  Representative, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

 
Mrs. Irene Pritzker, President, IDP Foundation, Chicago

Dr. Erol User, Founder, Kids Parliament, Pakistan

Mrs. Irene Pritzker, President, IDP Foundation, Chicago

Dr. Erol User, Founder, Kids Parliament, Pakistan

 
Ms. Mary Oakes Smith, Founder & President, Iraqi Women's Fellowship Foundation, Washington, DC. and Ms. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York Ms. Jane Hodges, Director, Bureau for Gender Equality,

Ms. Mary Oakes Smith, Founder & President, Iraqi Women's Fellowship Foundation, Washington, DC. and
 Ms. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York

 

Ms. Jane Hodges, Director, Bureau for Gender Equality,
 ILO, Geneva

 
Ms. Lora Gaston, Consultant, Gaston White, NY Ms. Sarah Hobson, Executive Director, New Field Foundation, California

Ms. Lora Gaston, Consultant, Gaston White, NY

Ms. Sarah Hobson, Executive Director,
New Field Foundation, California

 
Dr. Dorothy Shaw, Past President , Dir.of Gynecology Lindsey Siegal, Cari Hills, Margaret Wordy, Charlie Moore, Sarah Constantine, Courtney King and Alison Rose

Dr. Dorothy Shaw, Past President , Dir. of Gynecology

Lindsey Siegal, Cari Hills, Margaret Wordy, Charlie Moore, Sarah Constantine, Courtney King and Alison Rose
 
S. J. Casella, Executive Producer, CastNews.com Cari Hill, Lindsay Siegel, Sarah Constantine, and Zev Klein

S. J. Casella, Executive Producer, CastNews.com

Cari Hill, Lindsay Siegel, Sarah Constantine, and Zev Klein

 
Ms. Sharon Allen, Chairman of the Board, Deloitte

Sarah Ferguson, Hendrikka Waage, President Founder ,

Ms. Sharon Allen, Chairman of the Board, Deloitte

Sarah Ferguson, Hendrikka Waage, President Founder ,
 Kids Parliament

 
 

   
   
 

A duchess, an Oscar winner, a diplomat and the head of a corporate foundation joined two United Nations officials at a Headquarters press conference this afternoon to urge philanthropists to focus on women’s empowerment as an effective way to boost socio-economic conditions around the world.

Before their appearance in a special event entitled “Engaging philanthropy to promote gender equality and women's empowerment”, organized by the Economic and Social Council, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York; Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning Actor and Founder, See Jane; the Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, Morten Wetland of Norway; and Mary P. Quinn, the Senior Manager of the Avon Foundation for Women, spoke to the press.  Princess Madeleine of Sweden was introduced in the audience.

“It is well recognized that women and women’s leadership are essential to build strong economies, more stable societies and achieve internationally agreed goals for human rights and development,” Inés Alberdi, Executive Director of United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) said as she opened the press conference.

“Today’s event is both a celebration of current and emerging partnerships and a call to action for many larger scale collaborations.  It is through such partnerships that we will be able to achieve equality, inclusion and a more just and stable world for women -- and for men and children,” she added.

She pointed to a project helping Maasai women in Kenya gain economic rights and another one encouraging businesses in Egypt to gain a “gender equity seal” as examples of the benefits such partnerships had already provided.

Amir Dossal, Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships, said that the Economic and Social Council event was expected to bring together some 300 representatives of corporate and non-corporate foundations, private sector companies and civil society organizations that had a particular interest in the areas of gender empowerment and women’s equality.

It was co-organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Office for Partnerships and UNIFEM, in collaboration with the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.  The discussions would explore collaborative opportunities to boost gender empowerment and women’s equality worldwide.

He said the event was particularly important to Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon, who would open it, since it was taking place just ahead of efforts to re‑strategize the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Ms. Alberdi said that in the coming weeks, partnership between UNIFEM and the United Nations Global Compact would bring the effort to a whole new level, with an all-day 9 March symposium called “Equality Means Business”, which will launch the Women’s Empowerment Principles -- seven steps companies could take to empower women “from the boardroom to each link on the supply chain”.

Ms. Davis, whom Ms. Alberdi introduced as a new UNIFEM partner working to change the way media represented women and girls, regretted that in the new millennium, stereotyped portrayals of women and girls in the media remained rife.  In addition, for every female character in films, she said, there were three male characters, a ratio that had remained constant since 1946.

Sexually revealing clothing for women and girls was as common in G-rated movies as R-rated movies, she added.  She urged all sectors to work together to change the situation. “Real change happens when you reach the tipping point, and it will take all of us together to get there”, she said.

Ms. Ferguson, a keynote speaker at today’s event, said she spoke as a mother when she stressed that “education, education, education is key”.  She related the story of a young woman from Ethiopia who had been raped by four men, one of whom wanted to coerce her into marriage.  She was able to gain her freedom and go on to help other women in her country avoid a similar fate.  Education, she said, was the key to advancing her cause.

Ambassador Wetland said it was important to see the empowerment of women as not just a human rights issue, but also as a development issue.  The fact that Norway had 80 per cent of its women participating in the workplace and one of the world’s healthiest economies showed the benefits of women fully participating in society.  “If you do not promote women’s advancement, you undermine the prospects for growth and prosperity,” he said.

Finally, Ms. Quinn announced the awarding of a second gift from the Avon Empowerment Fund to the Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, in the amount of $250,000, following a previous $1 million grant, the largest one-year grant received by the Fund from the private sector.  The latest grant would be used to develop a model programme to combat gender-based violence in Mexico, by targeting children and adolescents at an age when their gender identities were being developed.

In response to correspondent’s questions, Ms. Alberdi acknowledged it was difficult to get money for women’s advancement, but UNIFEM had been growing year after year, so she was optimistic, particularly given the establishment of the unified gender entity in the United Nations.  Ms. Ferguson said that, if Governments could be made to understand the full economic value of women’s empowerment, they would devote more money to education.

Answering questions about the new United Nations gender entity, Ms. Alberdi could not give an exact date for the appointment of its head, although she affirmed it was a priority for the Organization that the new structure be in place by the end of the sixty-fourth General Assembly.  Mr. Wetland added that a decision was near and establishing the new entity was in everyone’s interest, though there were some remaining details that had to be dealt with.

The panel welcomed the appointment of former European Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström as Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, expressing the hope that she would be strongly supported by all stakeholders in fighting violence against women.

Asked, finally, about the possibility of an international regulatory system to ensure the education of girls, Mr. Wetland said that the international community was now strengthening mechanisms that could measure how well countries were carrying out their obligations under the variety of international instruments that already existed.

 

United  Nations Nations  Unies

                                                                            

Special Event on Engaging Philanthropy to promote gender equality
 and women’s empowerment

22 February 2010, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Announcement of Commitments

 

Dr. Marwan Awartani, Chair, Arab Foundations Forum (AFF)

AFF is an association of foundations that aims to foster dialogue, networking, learning and
collaboration among foundations as well as other partners in order to strengthen the capacity of 
strategic Arab philanthropy towards the attainment of social justice and advancing public good in the
Arab region. Empowering girls and women and closing the gender gap in various economic and
social sectors is not only at the core of social justice, but is also an optimal expression of strategic
social investment. Starting with this basic principle of strategic philanthropy, AFF has identified in its
first five year strategic plan the gender factor as a cross cutting theme in its various program
components including health, education, culture, employment and human rights; economic, social
and political. AFF will stimulate its member foundations to adopt joint gender based cross
country initiatives.  Many AFF member Foundations have identified girls and women as a priority
target group for their various social and economic intervention programs. Providing women with
a safer, more respectful and more dignified environment at home, at work and in their neighborhoods
and providing them with various forms of legal and counseling support are main concerns of some
member foundations.  

Ms. Maria Borelius, CEO, Hand in Hand International,
“10 Million Jobs among the Poor”

Hand in Hand International is committed to support the creation of 10 million jobs among poor, rural
and marginalized women through the establishment of micro-enterprises across Asia, sub-Saharan
Africa and South America.  This, in turn, will help 40 million people out of poverty, as each job
supports around four people.

Dr. Tariq Cheema, CEO, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP)

In order to tackle the gender equality deficit and empower women in Muslim societies, a rational
discussion will be effective when lead by the Muslims within the context of their religio-cultural
norms. WCMP announces the launch of a unique initiative entitled ‘Empowerment through
Enlightenment’ that will raise awareness among the male population, as well as offer
skill-building opportunities to females. As a first step, a working group will be assembled with the
task of developing effective strategies for this worldwide campaign.  The campaign will work closely
with mosques, schools, media and other community-based organizations. WCMP encourages and invites
the international community to partner in this effort. 
WCMP is a global initiative working with
humanitarians and institutions in order to mobilize human and financial resources in addressing
critical challenges facing the world today, including addressing the issue of women’s rights in
 Muslim-majority countries.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, “Mothers’ Army Initiative”

“As a mother myself, and from meeting with mothers in countries and cultures across the globe,
I believe that the nurturing power of mothers can change the landscape of economic, political, and
social issues.  As a result, and to work towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals,
I am developing a new initiative to harness the collective power of mothers.  In collaboration with the
UN Office for Partnerships, NGOs, UN officials, and private partners, this initiative will launch through
an innovative technological platform where mothers around the world will be convened to share,
 learn, support, and empower each other.”

Ms. Muna Bin Kalli, Executive Director, Sheikha Manal Art Exchange Program

Her Highness Sheikha Manal Al Maktoum, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan,
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs of UAE, is a strong advocate of
women’s empowerment.  The Art Exchange Program promotes a culture of respect and
mutual understanding and supports United Nations initiatives to achieve gender equality.

 

 
 

Should you wish to make a commitment, please hand this completed form to either Ms. Lucie Hrbkova,
Chief of Office, United Nations Office for Partnerships, or Ms. Leslie Wade, Chief of the ECOSOC Inter-organizational Cooperation Branch (EICB), to ensure that this information is incorporated in the high-level segment of ECOSOC in July 2010, as well as in the annual report of the Secretary-General on the work
 of the UN Office for Partnerships.

 

Contact details:

Lucie Hrbkova

Chief of Office, UNOP

Email: hrbkova@un.org

Leslie Wade

Chief, EICB

Email: wade@un.org

 

Should you wish to submit this after the conference, please do so by
 28 February 2010 via email. 

 

Thank you very much.

 

COMMITMENT – pls. provide a short text on your commitment and your contact information in the box below.

 

Name of your Company/Organization:

Your name:                                                                            Title:

 

Email address:                                                                       Telephone number:

 

 
 
 
 

To list an upcoming event please contact:
joyce@blacktiemagazine.com

 
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