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World’s Largest Corporate Sustainability Initiative Says No to All-Male Panels

Posted on 03/15/2016
(New York, 15 March, 2016) – Today, United Nations Global Compact Executive Director Lise Kingo announced the UN Global Compact Panel Pledge, a new global effort to help put an end to all-male panels.
In her opening remarks at the Women’s Empowerment Principles Annual Event, held in conjunction with the 60th Commission on the Status of Women, Ms. Kingo called on staff members at the initiative’s headquarters in New York to pledge not to take part in or to host panels comprised only of men. (Watch the live Event here.) 
Through this effort, the UN Global Compact’s male employees can help advance gender equality when they are invited to speak on an all-male panel by asking to substitute a female colleague, raising the importance of women speakers if they do attend the event, or declining the speaking engagement.
“Too often, I’ve been the only woman on a panel. It is time that we challenge the status quo and stop making excuses – there is no shortage of qualified women,” said Ms. Kingo. She emphasized that “achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will require greater equality and opportunity for women and girls everywhere. One practical way to start is by pledging to make both women’s and men’s perspectives heard on stages everywhere.”
To take the pledge global, the UN Global Compact encourages its 80-plus Local Networks and over 13,000 signatories around the world to make their own pledges to bring gender balance to conferences and events – and asks them share their commitment via Twitter at #PanelPledge.
The UN Global Compact’s announcement is inspired by the Male Champions of Change work led by Elizabeth Broderick, co-chair of the Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Group and Former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
“I've seen the impact of the Panel Pledge in corporate Australia and commend the UN Global Compact for taking it to the global business community,” said Ms. Broderick. “Not only does diversity of perspective benefit the quality of the conversation, ensuring the inclusion of women at business forums alters the optics and challenges entrenched gender norms and stereotypes,” she explained.
Every year the UN Global Compact and its Local Networks host over a hundred events around the world focused on corporate sustainability and the vision of achieving a more sustainable and inclusive global economy through principled business action and innovation.