Employers draw attention to business case for unleashing potential of female talent

Peter Robinson, President and CEO of USCIB and IOE Regional Vice-President for North America attended the launch of the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) on behalf of the IOE, during the UN General Assembly in New York. He participated in a panel on "Drawing top talent for innovation and growth at leading businesses through equal pay policies", alongside other business voices, including IKEA, Accenture, Barclay’s, GAP, and Catalyst, and moderated by Michelle Fleury of BBC World News. In his intervention, Peter Robinson emphasised the compelling business and economic case for unleashing women's skills and talents and empowering them to enjoy equal access to job opportunities and career advancement. He highlighted that women's economic empowerment is an integral part of an effective response to the challenges of the future of work, if only because women represent at least half of the world's potential human resource. He reiterated that employers support equal pay for equal work. Peter Robinson highlighted that rather than coming up with more regulation and legislation, the way to closing gender parity gaps is by first and foremost understanding the barriers behind such gaps, with cultural and legal barriers differing widely among countries. The IOE, with its global membership, is well positioned to help in this regard in both education and advocacy: it is able to share and leverage the experiences of its membership in providing practical services to members and in informing and advising governments and international organisations on policy actions. It has supported UN Women's Women Empowerment Principles, and has served as an International Geneva Gender Champion to governments, international organisations, and civil society in sharing good practices to raise the profile of gender parity and provide opportunities to address gender inequality through public private partnerships. When asked whether quotas are a preferable option in working toward corporate gender parity targets, Peter Robinson replied that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and that different measures will be chosen in different situations. He explained that the bottom line is that companies wherever they are need to do their best to attract, promote and retain women at all levels of their organisation. In terms of the key added value of EPIC, Peter Robinson suggested that it can capitalise on the unique strength of its founding organisations to strengthen the evidence-based cases of the barriers towards policy action. By providing data and fact-based analysis on the different barriers within a society that perpetuate gender gaps through the expertise of the ILO, UN Women and the OECD, national actors are in a better position to understand the barriers they face and come up with sound policy action to tackle gender parity. About EPIC EPIC is a strategic multi-stakeholder partnership founded by the ILO, UN Women and the OECD to assist UN Member States, in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Target 8.5, which calls for equal pay of work of equal value and Goal 5 which seeks gender equality and women’s empowerment. EPIC was launched with the support of a number high-level dignitaries, including: Guy Ryder, Director-General of the ILO; Angel Guerría, Secretary-General of OECD;  and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, President of Costa Rica presided over the event. For more information, please contact Thannaletchimy Housset, IOE Adviser

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