Gender equality makes economic sense

Mary Quinn,Avon Foundation for Women, Geena Davis, actress and activist, Inés Alberdi, Executive Director of UNIFEM, Ambassador Morten Wetland and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York at the press conference prior to the event. Photo: Norway Mission/Emma K Lydersen

Mary Quinn,Avon Foundation for Women, Geena Davis, actress and activist, Inés Alberdi, Executive Director of UNIFEM, Ambassador Morten Wetland and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York at the press conference prior to the event. Photo: Norway Mission/Emma K Lydersen

A colorful cast came together at the United Nations to discuss the role of philanthropy in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment on Monday. Among the more than 300 participants in this special event were Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York,the Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis, and Norway’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Morten Wetland.

Representatives from private companies, foundations, academia and civil society organizations came together under the banner “Engaging Philanthropy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.”

“Empowering women is not only a justice, a rights-based approach, it’s actually good macro-economic policy. So empowering women, allowing them to pursue a family and an education as well as have a career will actually give countries a competitive edge,” Ambassador Wetland told reporters at a news briefing just prior to the event.

Ambassador Wetland is currently the vice-president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which co-sponsored the event.

The event was part of a series to highlight the progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the third of which deals with gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, a keynote speaker at the event, said she spoke as a mother when she stressed that “education, education, education is key”. She said that, if governments could be made to understand the full economic value of women’s empowerment, they would devote more money to education.

The award winning actress Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, said she regretted that in the new millennium, stereotyped portrayals of women and girls in the media were still pervasive. In addition, for every female character in films, she said, there were three male characters, a ratio that had remained constant since 1946.

Inés Alberdi, Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and Mary Quinn, senior manager of the Avon Foundation for Women also took part in the news briefing.

Go to Norway at the UN on Flickr for more photos from the press briefing.

Source: Norway’s Mission to the United Nations