3rd Global Forum "Business for Gender Equality: Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals"

21-23 November, Panama City

From the 21st to the 23rd of November 2016, the Government of Panama and UNDP will hold the Third Global Forum, “Business for Gender Equality: Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals”. 

The Forum will bring together business leaders, governments, academia, labor associations and civil society to share best practices for reducing gender gaps in the workplace and to highlight how the private sector can advance gender equality and build inclusive work environments. Representatives from Google, Ernest and Young, Itaipu and other companies have confirmed their participation in the event. 

The Forum will discuss innovations for reducing gender gaps in the workplace; develop recommendations and strategies to promote the application of gender equality practices and policies; promote dialogue among key actors and reinforce strategic partnerships between the private sector, governments and UNDP to advance gender equality in the workplace and empower women economically.  

Gender equality is vital to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which envisions a world in which “every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality and all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed”, as stated by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The private sector can make a critical contribution to eradicating gender inequalities and driving the achievement of sustainable development. By implementing gender equality standards within their own companies, the private sector can ensure equal opportunities for women, create inclusive work environments and help achieve the Sustainable Develoment Goals (SDGs) focused on gender equality (Goal 5), decent work and economic growth (Goal 8) and reduced inequalities (Goal 10).

Gender Equality Seal Certification programmes, implemented by national governments with the support of UNDP, support public and private companies to address gender disparities in the workplace and establish environments where women’s work and contributions are valued.

Facts and Figures


  • Women earn 24% less than men.
  • Women are only half as likely as men to have full-time wage jobs for an employer.
  • Women hold only 22% of senior business leadership positions, and 32% of businesses have no female senior managers. 
  • Labour force participation is much lower for women than men. In 2015, 72% of working age (15+) men were employed, compared to 47% of women. 
  • On average 1 in 3 married women in developing countries have no say about major household purchases, and 1 in 10 are not consulted on how their own cash earnings are spent.


  • Women do 75% of the unpaid domestic work.
  • There are nearly 20 million domestic workers in Latin America and the Caribbean (7.2 million in Brazil), and the majority (83 %) of those workers are women with inadequate social protection
  • 1 in 3 women do not generate income.
  • Among 72 large companies in the region, only three had a woman as CEO or president, ie 4.2%.
  • 5 out of 10 women are still outside the labor market.   
  • 54 % of women work in informal environments, with fragile incomes and little social protection. 

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