Gender equality and the empowerment of women

The importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly women’s economic empowerment, is at the core of UNIDO’s mandate. Enhancing the role of women as drivers of poverty reduction, promoting female investors and entrepreneurs, and recognizing the link between gender equality and safeguarding the environment all promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and directly contribute to SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure, and to SDG 5 on gender equality.

“Educating and investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and economic growth. But economically strengthening women is not only a means by which to spur and sustain inclusive industrial development. It is also a matter of advancing women's human rights”

                                                                                                              - UNIDO Director General LI Yong

Targeting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment is not only important from the perspective of realizing women’s rights but is also smart economics. Women are key agents of change and when women and men are equal, economies grow faster; less people remain in poverty, and the overall well-being of people increases. Harnessing women’s potential as economic actors, leaders and consumers results in higher levels of industrialization and more sustained growth rates. Global gross domestic product could increase by more than 25 per cent by 2025 if women played the same role in labour markets as men.

UNIDO collaborates with partners across the UN system, the private sector and at the country level to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. Through these partnerships, UNIDO provides technical cooperation activities within its three thematic areas. By encouraging investment in women-owned businesses, strengthening female networks, improving access to markets and providing training, technology and clean energy solutions for inclusive and sustainable industrial development, UNIDO is helping to create a world where women can thrive.

As well as empowering women through targeted technical cooperation activities, UNIDO mainstreams gender in all programmes, projects and organizational practices. UNIDO’s Policy on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, issued in 2009 and updated in 2015, sets out the Organization’s gender equality commitments. The Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Strategy 2016-2019 provides a clear results-oriented framework and plan of action.

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