UN Women Ethiopia Country Office facilitated and joined the signing of Women Empowerment Principles* (WEPs) with Enat Bank and Ashagari Consulting Firm to confirm their commitment to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. During the event held on 7 December 2022 at Golden Tulip Hotel in Addis Ababa, over forty five participants from the Government, private sector and mass media attended.
Mr. Schadrack Dusabe; Deputy Representative/Head Office a.i. of UN Women Ethiopia in his welcoming remarks highlighted that the commitment should be beyond just a signature and drive on activities to enhance business practices that empower women, “Today’s event should be beyond a signature but rather a journey, which is starting from a solid foundation of goodwill and commitment. It should focus on actions and have paramount importance in motivating companies and organizations to practice the GEWE agenda in workplace, in the market and in the community.” He added that WEPs mean business as positive correlation between gender responsive business environment and business performance has been proven globally.
Ms. Zebider Bogale, representative from the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs(MoWSA), in her opening remarks said, “The Ministry believes that this event contributes to both companies being more committed to their efforts of empowering women and girls.” Moreover, she noted that WEPs are aligned with the country’s Ten Years Development Plan and the Ministry is willing to engage and support in translating the principles into practice. Ms. Mekdes Gebrewold, CEO of Ashagari Consulting Firm on her part stated, “In the past, the firm has been working on women’s economic empowerment and now being part of the WEPs community motivates us even more to bring practical changes in women’s and girls’ lives by assessing our company’s policies and practices from a gender equality point of view.”
In her presentation, Ms. Tigist Abate; Vice President of Enat Bank, asserted that becoming a signatory to the WEPs is a tool to enhance women’s economic empowerment at various levels including in her institution, “The seven Women Empowerment
Principles have a key role in empowering women at the institutional and national levels. Enat Bank is proud of being part of this initiative and will strengthen its efforts of supporting women in the economic and social sectors.”
With the theme, ‘Empowering Women in the Workplace, Market place and Community’, beyond the WEPs signing ceremony, activities at the event encompassed presentation on best practices on WEPs’ implementation such as key results, challenges and lessons learned from UN Women Kenya Office and from Gulf Africa Bank based in Kenya. The experiences from previous WEPs signatory; Kombolcha Textile Share Company in Ethiopia, WEPs’ benefits and impact on gender equality and sustainable economic development are among the presentations by UN Women Ethiopia Country Office.
Exhibition on women designed products was part of the ceremony to motivate women owned businesses. For Ms. Woinshet Guangul, co-founder and designer at SHE designs, the event was not only an opportunity to display her company’s products, but also to become aware of the WEPs and get networked. She was brought on board as part of Gender Responsive Procurement Principle of UN Women and selected to produce the promotional bags for the event, “Our company was established by four women aiming to help women and girls with low income. Our products include reusable sanitary pads targeting underprivileged women and girls. We got selected to supply the WEPs promotional bags because of the quality products we produce. We also got the opportunity to display our products and received positive feedback form the participants.”
Enat Bank is a private commercial bank in Ethiopia. It was founded in 2008 by eleven Ethiopian women. The bank has over a thousand employees and women represent over fifty percent. The bank envisioned to maximize and promote female capability in economic inclusion. Women own 64 percent of the bank and compose major leadership positions from the senior bank management to the Board of Directors. Ashagari Consulting Firm is a learning and development company in Ethiopia. It was established in 2017 by Ms. Mekdes Gebrewold and aims to transform individuals, organizations and communities through women leadership, personal development trainings and services. To date, it has directly impacted more than 130,000 individuals working in more than 30 organizations. Through its community outreach service, it created jobs for more than 900 women.
The event was concluded by a vibrant interest of six participating Private Sector companies’ representatives who committed to start the journey towards Subscribing to WEPs for the next cohort of Signatories.
UN Women and UN Global Compact, in 2010, developed a set of seven Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). The WEPs are informed by international labor and human rights standards and grounded in the recognition that businesses have a stake in and responsibility for GEWE. Accordingly, UN Women Ethiopia Country Office encourages and supports the private sectors to be certain that equality means business.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.