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WEPs CEO Leadership Awards

Nominations are now closed for the 2016 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards!


Review Process  |  Awards Committee

 The prestigious WEPs CEO Leadership Awards 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 2016. 


Learn more about the WEPs CEO Leadership Awards:

  • View Categories and Recipients:  20152014 | 2013

  • Read Press Release: 2015 2014 | 2013

  • Watch Ceremony: 20152014 | 2013                                                           

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


2016 Categories & Recipients


Benchmarking for Change

Recognizes a company for reporting meaningful metrics, indicators and qualitative information to track gender equality progress at all levels of the company’s operations.

  • Jean-Paul Agon, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, L’Oréal  

L’Oréal, a global cosmetics and personal goods company with over 80,000 employees, emphasizes measurement and indicators to drive change and monitor results.  The company created a dashboard with over 30 indicators to embed gender equality within the organizational strategy and is implementing a robust, indicator-driven, gender equality certification of subsidiaries—30 have already been certified. Measurement through the use of sex-disaggregated data is critical for L’Oréal to assess progress and identify opportunities for further improvement. 

“We recognize the vital role women play in society and we are convinced that their effective empowerment is a driver of progress. We also know that gender inequality is still deeply rooted in many societies. This has to change. The Women’s Empowerment Principles offer a clear and actionable road map to help frame and address this complex issue together. Measuring what we do is important for us to communicate ethically with integrity and with transparency on our achievements but also on our challenges.”
- Jean-Paul Agon, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, L’Oréal

Business Case for Action

Recognizes a company for using concrete data to drive a cross-cutting gender equality strategy throughout business operations.
  • David Sproul, Senior Partner and Chief Executive, Deloitte United Kingdom

Deloitte UK, the business advisory firm, has taken bold steps to combine targeted actions with cultural change to improve gender diversity; the firm is clear that long-term and sustainable change will only happen when the two are combined. In July 2015 it publicly reported its gender pay gap, which showed that its gap stands at 17.8% whilst its ‘in grade’ gap (looking at pay parity for those at the same level in the organisation) stands at around 1.5%. This gave Deloitte the opportunity to show its people and those outside the firm that its challenge is about the number of women it has in senior positions in our firm, rather than parity of pay. To tackle this issue it implemented a range of initiatives to increase the number of women it recruits (at both an entry and experienced-hire level) ensuring that development opportunities are clear, relevant and bespoke to the individual, as well as providing a working environment that enables women to balance a successful career with family life.

The firm believes that this award will demonstrate to its people, clients and the wider community that they are serious about the change that needs to happen in their business and in the wider business community.
“The Women’s Empowerment Principles provide a clear and concise guide for businesses wishing to address gender diversity in a sustained and meaningful way. In our own journey our actions have been consistent with these principles. Where persuasion was needed, we focused on being clear on the benefit to the business.” - David Sproul, Senior Partner and Chief Executive, Deloitte UK
Community Engagement
Recognizes a company for promoting and integrating gender equality throughout the value chain as well as leveraging stakeholder engagement within communities of operation for long-term sustainability.
  • Federico Bernaldo de Quiros, Chief Executive Officer, Restaurantes Toks

The CEO of Toks Restaurantes, a multi-unit chain restaurant in Mexico, has made it a priority to address income inequality in Mexico, in particularly for women and children, through an income generating programme called Productive Projects" where women are integrated into the company’s value chain by supplying quality, natural and handmade products to the restaurant. To date, the programme has impacted the lives of over 6,000 women in over 50 communities in Mexico and has brought positive bottom line impacts to the company though increased profits, innovation and performance. 

“Successful businesses and societies are those who are to get the best from its ‘Human Capital.’  We need to actively promote women inclusion in all the human areas if we want to succeed as company, as country or even the world in the present and the years to come. One of our greatest accomplishments is empowering more than 6,000 women in poverty nationwide to achieve decent living conditions for themselves and their families”- Federico Bernaldo de Quiros, Chief Executive Officer, Restaurantes Toks
Cultural Change for Empowerment
Recognizes a company for encouraging gender inclusive behavior, practices, and mindsets to create transformative change within the company, region or industry.
  • Lance Hockridge, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Aurizon  

Aurizon, Australia’s largest rail-based transport company, believes challenging deep rooted attitudes and beliefs is the key to sustainable business outcomes. Hockridge has made it a goal to disrupt the status quo by addressing unconscious bias, changing social norms and setting ambitious targets to advance gender equality in what has typically been a male-dominated industry.

“The challenges women face in historically male-dominated work environments are deeply entrenched.  Clearly, traditional gender hierarchies and cultural norms prevail not just inside workplaces, but also in the family and society.  Achieving gender equality without empowerment would be as unlikely as it would be pointless.” - Lance Hockridge, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Aurizon 

7 Principles
Recognizes a company for taking coordinated actions to deliver powerful results aligned with the 7 Principles.
  • Michel Landel, Chief Executive Office, Sodexo and Janet Awad, Regional Chair of Latin America and Country President, Sodexo Chile (France/ Chile)
Gender balance is strategic and a business imperative for the global quality of life services company Sodexo.  Through a study linking gender balance to financial and non-financial success, the company found gender equality is a significant driver of performance and only delivers results if it is embedded in the global strategy and systematically addressed at all levels of the organization. Sodexo has set ambitious goals for gender parity within the organization (women make up 43% of the executive committee), as well as externally by economically empowering women in their value chain to create inclusive and sustainable societies (commitment to empower 1,500 women owned businesses). Mr. Landel has taken extraordinary efforts to sponsor local leaders, including Mrs. Awad, to advance gender equality in country specific contexts.
“In a globalized economy these principles establish a common global framework for organizations that want to promote gender equality – demonstrating that there are a common set of strategies needed to advance women in the workplace and therefore in our communities.  And these strategies are essential and relevant regardless of geography. With a global network, the WEPs gives us the opportunity to build and strengthen alliances with organizations that share our values at a global and local level (Chile). ” - Michel Landel, Chief Executive Officer, Sodexo 

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.


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


"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.