Nominations for the 2014 WEPs Leadership Awards are now closed. Winners will be announced on 6 March 2014 at the 6th Annual Women's Empowerment Principles Event: Gender Equality and the Global Jobs Challenge.
The awards salute business leaders for their exceptional championship of gender equality and support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles. Held as part of the WEPs Annual Event, in observance of International Women’s Day (8 March) and coinciding with the Commission on the Status of Women, the awards ceremony highlights concrete and innovative actions taken to advance the 7 Principles and particularly Principle One: Leadership Promotes Gender Equality.
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
Recognizes a company for its alignment of values and business case applied to a long-term investment in community, leveraging community engagement to build community-driven and participatory local 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
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.
The review process was aimed at finding outstanding and innovative initiatives meant to 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 WEPs Leadership 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.)
Ms. Bolaji Agbede, Head, Group Human Capital Development, Access Bank Plc.
Ms. Amanda Ellis, Ambassador Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations Office in Geneva; and Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Francophone Africa
Ms. Patricia Hargil, Partner - Corporate Strategy & Development, Alcatel-Lucent
Ms. Elisabeth Kelan, Associate Professor in the Department of Management, King's College London
Ms. Maureen Kilgour, Associate Professor in the School of Business Administration, Université de Saint-Boniface
Ms. Freda Miriklis, President, BPW International
Ms. Carmen Niethammer, Gender Advisor at Odebrecht S.A & Strategy and Knowledge, Women in Business Program, IFC
Ms. Shanaaz Preena, Director, Women-Go-Beyond/Women’s Advocacy, MAS Holdings
Ms. Gudrun Sander, Director for Diversity and Management Programs, University of St. Gallen
Ms. Wendy Schmidt, Principal, Global Leader – Business Intelligence Services, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP
View the Awards Committee biographies
The frames for the 2014 WEPs 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's founders 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. Only 10 frames like this exist in the world (5 for last year's awards and 5 this year). Each one is a special creation. The artisans are incredibly proud to have their work honored in this way.
For more information on the Awards, eligibility and how to apply, please see WEPs Leadership Awards FAQ.