Image Cover
Image Cover

Women as levers of change for a sustainable industry during COVID-19 and beyond: UNIDO Gender Equality Mobilization Award

  • General Information
  • Background
  • Key objectives
  • When: 29 November 2021 at 3 – 4:30 p.m. (CET)

    Where: The event will be accessible online through the Interprefy platform and will be open to participants registered to the Conference. Non-registered participants will be able to follow the livestream on the UNIDO website.

    Target participants:

    • public sector stakeholders in the country’s capital; 
    • permanent mission representations,
    • private sector representatives and
    • civil society members

    from all regions that are interested in or working on issues pertaining to gender equality and the empowerment of women in industry.

    The audience will further cover UNIDO personnel.


    The event will consist of three parts. There will be a high-level opening with opening remarks and a keynote speech. During the second part, a panel will be organized to present and discuss the award recipient initiatives. Speakers will provide concrete, tangible and diverse examples and will leave ample room for questions and comments from the audience. During the third and concluding part, the GEM award will be presented by the Director General to celebrate outstanding results of UNIDO personnel in promoting gender equality and empowerment.

  • The post-pandemic recovery measures represent a unique opportunity to institute bold measures for more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies that put women front and center in the post-COVID-19 industrial landscape. As the global community strives to build back better industries, economies and societies post-COVID-19, investing in women is both the right thing and the smart thing to do.

    Deeply-rooted structural gender inequalities and discriminatory social norms – which have been further exacerbated by the economic and social impact of the pandemic – have resulted in unequal access to productive resources, professional opportunities and infrastructures for women and men, including in the industrial sector. For example, women-led enterprises are often found in the SME category, operate in sectors with lower profit margins and account for a disproportionate share of the SME finance gap, especially in emerging economies and low- and middle-income countries. Furthermore, the advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – i.e. automation, digitalization and artificial intelligence – are likely to negatively affect low-skill and routine manufacturing jobs where women are disproportionately represented.

    At the same time, women have already been playing an important role in industrialization, including in the transition to a green economy. In fact, there is ample evidence of a correlation between the gender diversity of companies and its profitability, innovation and environmental sustainability.  For example, women are important stakeholders in driving responsible consumption and production behaviors as well as pioneering a culture of circularity– as consumers, entrepreneurs, innovators and designers.

    Thus, the time is now to harness women’s full potential as leaders, innovators and agents of industrial and environmental change, and to ensure that everyone equally benefits, participates in and leads industrial development in the recovery phase. This requires targeted and inclusive policy responses and investments that take into consideration the specific needs and contributions of women as workers, business owners and entrepreneurs.

  • This event will feature best practices and results from UNIDO activities as regards gender equality and the empowerment of women (GEEW) that may serve as an inspiration for future approaches to ensure inclusive and sustainable industrial development post-COVID-19.

    By showcasing UNIDO initiatives on GEEW as a cross-cutting issue and from different priori-ty areas, the event demonstrates that gender equality and the empowerment of women is a priority in industrial development, as mandated by the Member States through GC.16/Res.3, GC.17/Res.3 and GC.18/Res.2.

    The examples to be showcased will be based on the awardees of the second UNIDO Gender Equality Mobilization Award (GEM Award), for which UNIDO personnel was invited to nominate teams or individuals that have strengthened the Organization’s efforts to advance gender equality and empower women to fully participate in inclusive and sustainable industrial development. This year, awardees were selected with due consideration to their contributions to addressing the COVID-19 crisis and building our economies and societies back better. Awardees will join the stakeholder of the awarded initiative (government counterparts of project/programme, beneficiary from the private sector) in presenting good practices that lead to tangible gender-equality related results.