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2015 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards

Nominations are now closed for the prestigious 2015 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards, which recognize business leaders for their exceptional championship   of gender equality and support for the Women's Empowerment Principles. 

The Awards salute concrete and innovative actions taken to advance the 7 Principles and particularly Principle 1: Leadership Promotes Gender Equality.  Award recipients will have the opportunity to speak directly about their commitment at a ceremony held at the United Nations during the Women's Empowerment Principles Annual Event, March 2015.

Download the nomination form.

For more information on the WEPs CEO Leadership Awards, eligibility and

how to apply, please see the FAQ.


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Learn more about the WEPs CEO Leadership Awards:

To learn about the Women’s Empowerment Principles please watch the WEPs video.

Review Process

The review process identifies outstanding and innovative initiatives that advance the implementation of the WEPs and gender equality within a company. Specifically, the review focused on actions spearheaded by the CEO that resulted in concrete, sustainable programmes with measurable impact. The Awards are reviewed by an independent Awards Committee.


2015 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards Committee

The Awards Committee is comprised of members of the WEPs Leadership Group, a multi-stakeholder volunteer group that provides strategic guidance to the UN Women/UN Global Compact WEPs partnership and represented business, academia, civil society, women’s organizations and international institutions. (Note: To avoid any conflict of interest, Leadership Group members are not permitted to participate in the process if their CEO was a nominee.) The Awards Committee members are:

  • Business for Social Responsibility- Ms. Racheal Meiers, Director, Inclusive Economy

  • Calvert Group Ltd.- Ms. Shade Brown, Sustainability Analyst

  • Cranfield School of Management- Ms. Elisabeth Kelan, Chaired Professor of Leadership 

  • Commonwealth Business Women- Ms. Freda Miriklis, Co-Chair

  • Jindal Stainless Ltd.- Brigadier Rajiv Williams, Corporate Head of Corporate Responsibility

  • International Finance Corporation- Ms. Carmen Niethammer, Employment Lead for Gender Secretariat

  • MAS Holdings- Ms. Shanaaz Preena, Director, Women-Go-Beyond/Women’s Advocacy

  • Université de Saint-Boniface- Ms. Maureen Kilgour, Associate Professor in the School of Business Administration

  • University of St. Gallen- Ms. Gudrun Sander, Director for Diversity and Management Programs

View the 2015 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards Committee biographies


2014 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards


Categories & Recipients

As advancing women in the workplace, marketplace and community requires implementing a range of tailored strategies and actions to achieve concrete, sustainable programmes with measurable impact, the WEPs Leadership Awards are structured to reflect diverse strategies:

Benchmarking for Change

Recognizes a company for embedding accountability to achieve gender equality through meaningful metrics, indicators, and reporting to track and monitor the inclusion of women at all levels of the company's operations.

  • Cem Boyner, Chief Executive Officer, Boyner Holding

Imbedding gender equality into overall corporate sustainability through the Workplace Democracy initiative and creating specific targets for this integration proved to be a key for the company’s equality strategy.  This integration resulted in a greater 51% female employee base (2013) and 50% female representation at Boyner’s top management positions.  

"In Turkey, Gender Equality is one of the main issues that lies ahead for our socio-economic advancement. There is still a lot to be achieved in this area and I sincerely hope that the WEPs Leadership Award will influence others to take action and spread a culture of democracy in both working and political spheres.”
- Cem Boyner, Chief Executive Officer


Business Case for Action

Recognizes a company for the implementation of a cross-cutting strategic initiative to sustainably establish inclusion and equality, and transform company behavior and practices.

  • Joseph Keefe, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pax World Management

The commitment to incorporating gender analysis in investment research led to a broad-based strategy that marks gender equality as a key indicator of investment worthiness.   As a result, Pax examines the company’s policies and actions concerning: diversity of boards and senior management teams, safe work environments for women, no-tolerance policies for gender-based violence, sexual harassment, discrimination or exploitation.  Moreover, the company and its CEO advocates for these approaches in the investment and business community, taking public stands for action on women workers’ safety and fair treatment in the garment industry, among others.

“First, I am pleased that five out of eight senior vice presidents who sit on the firm’s management committee are women. Second, I am encouraged by the work we are doing to convince other companies to embrace gender diversity. During the 2012-2013 proxy season, we voted against director slates at more than 180 companies. Since the 2010-2011 proxy season, we have voted against or withheld support for director nominees at nearly 750 companies due to insufficient gender diversity, and have registered our concerns directly with these companies. While chairing the Institutional Investor Committee of the Thirty Percent Coalition, I oversaw the Coalition’s effort in writing to over 160 companies with no women on their boards. This initiative has resulted in dialogues with nearly 40 companies, and we have learned from fifteen companies that women have since been added to their boards."
- Joseph Keefe, President and Chief Executive Officer


Community Engagement

Recognizes a company for applying the business case to long-term community investments by leveraging community engagement to build locally-driven and participatory programmes.   

  • Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca Cola Company

The company’s ambitious and inclusive economic empowerment initiative, 5by20, is aimed at skilling up and scaling up economic empowerment for 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s vast value chain by 2020. Through this initiative, the company is developing and implementing programs that enable women entrepreneurs working in transport, supply or sales, to break down the barriers they face. These programs, which work with NGOS and other organizations to leverage economic and community impact, include business skills training courses, access to financial services and to networks of peers or mentors.  The initiative’s design includes detailed indicators and monitoring and has currently reached more than 300,000 women across 12 countries.

“There’s just no way to address the global employment challenge without greater gender equality. Indeed, we will need everyone contributing if we are to reinvigorate worldwide economic growth. As for Coca-Cola, our system is one of the world’s largest private employers, with more than 700,000 employees. And, with our 5by20 program, we’re striving to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs outside our system by 2020.”
- Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer


Cultural Change for Empowerment

Recognizes  a company for its public, unwavering and proactive commitment to gender equality throughout its business operations that is complemented by a record of expansive programming elevating women’s equality in the workplace and throughout it communities.   

  • T.K. Kurien, Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Wipro Limited

The company’s strategic enabler “Women of Wipro” (WOW) programme, launched in 2008, promotes gender equality and equal opportunity within Wipro, within the broader Indian business community and at the community level as well.  The program’s integrated approach considers the different stages of life and societal expectations for women and the “Women of Wipro” programme addresses these stages by creating innovative initiatives to support each one.  These initiatives benefit families and communities by empowering those in the workplace and at home.

“Over the last five years, WOW initiatives have helped nurture an equal opportunity culture, support the career ambitions of women executives, and facilitate greater business participation by women leaders at different levels within the organization. We have seen that this resonates with our global client base, workforce and the industrial community.”
- T.K. Kurien, Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board


7 Principles

Recognizes a company for taking coordinated action and implementing policies to deliver powerful results aligned with the 7 Principles.

  • Anant Gupta, President and Chief Executive Officer, HCL Technologies

HCL Technologies embeds the 7 Principles throughout company sustainability efforts by implementing a comprehensive strategy that advances gender equality and women’s empowerment within the company and all its divisions, while externally supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment programs within their communities. With the philosophy “Employees First, Customers Second,” HCL Technologies has turned the traditional management hierarchy upside down transferring responsibility for change to the front-line employees by creating transparent communication channels between front-line employees and managers. Transparency, accountability, measurement and reporting help measure and monitor progress.

“At HCL, we believe in the women who work with us in making this organization the dynamic and diverse place it is. Across the globe, women are assuming leadership roles in business, politics, education and society. Research indicates that women bring irreplaceable skills into the workplace. They are excellent mediators, great networkers and place value in building relationships. We, at HCL, leverage the intrinsic values of our women employees to make a positive contribution in the workplace, and contribute to their professional growth. Inspiring women to assume leadership positions is a top management priority at HCL.”
- Anant Gupta, President and Chief Executive Officer

View a complete list of award recipients and biographies.


2014 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards Committee

View the 2014 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards Committee biographies


"Framing” the WEPs CEO Leadership Awards

The frames for the WEPs CEO Leadership Awards are uniquely-designed by artisans from the village of Croix-Des-Bouquets in Haiti.  Artisans in this village have a long-standing tradition, dating back to the 1940's, of creating art from steel oil drums. Designs are drawn out in chalk and then hand-cut and hand hammered, with no electrical tools whatsoever. Maiden Nation, an organization that empowers women through entrepreneurship, worked with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to organize an Artisan Business Network, led by women, to help the gifted artisans of Haiti sell their goods in the global market. These frames were created within that network, which is supported by Maiden Nation, Inter-American Development Bank and other international partners.The UN Olive Branch and WEPs Award language were incorporated into traditional Haitian folk patterns. Each frame is uniquely created and made expressively for this business Award. The artisans are incredibly proud to have their work recognized through the WEPs CEO Leadership Award.