Mary Kay Inc., a global advocate for women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, has furthered its commitment to advancing gender parity by releasing a position paper welcoming the European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy for 2020 - 2025 and by joining the Generation Equality Forum Global Action Coalitions.
The position paper, which can be accessed here(https://bit.ly/3kEoUWU), echoes the strategy of the European Union on gender equality. According to the European Union: “The Strategy presents policy objectives and actions to make significant progress by 2025 towards a gender-equal Europe. The goal is a Union where women and men, girls and boys, in all their diversity, are free to pursue their chosen path in life, have equal opportunities to thrive, and can equally participate in and lead our European society.”
“Discriminatory laws, gender bias and stereotyping, violence against women and girls - these are all global issues and must be tackled in partnership with the public and private sectors and civil society organizations across the world,” said Julia Simon, Chief Legal & Diversity Officer at Mary Kay. “Achieving gender equality is critical to the survival of the planet and the rebuilding of more sustainable and thriving economies and societies.”
This month, Mary Kay also joined the “Drivers of change” Program at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, France (June 30 - July 2). 26 years after the Beijing Declaration, the Generation Equality Forum, convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, was the “most critical moment in a generation to invest in gender equality and accelerate momentum for women’s safety, leadership and economic opportunity.”
Julia Simon participated to a panel titled “Building a Transformative Strategy for Gender-Responsive Procurement,” aiming at creating awareness of the disproportionately complex and interconnected barriers on women’s entrepreneurship and promoting gender-responsive procurement. Globally, 1 in 3 businesses are owned by women, yet women win only 1% of the procurement spend of governments and large corporations. Speakers shared insights and concrete advice substantiated by their own journey on how to implement a GRP strategy.
At the Paris Forum, Mary Kay also joined four of the Generation Equality Action Coalitions through policy, programmatic, and advocacy commitments: Economic Justice and Rights; Feminist Action for Climate Justice; Gender-based Violence and Innovation and Technology. 50,000 people virtually engaged in the Forum which gathered 1,000 commitment-makers, recorded $40 billion of investments for gender equality in support of a 5-year plan to act for equal across 6 areas of action.
These engagements are the latest of a series of Mary Kay’s advocacy efforts in support of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality at high level meetings around the world alongside its UN partners and local strategic partners.
On March 16, 2021, Deborah Gibbins, Mary Kay’s COO, joined the UN Global Compact Target Gender Equality meeting to discuss how Mary Kay empowers women entrepreneurs in nearly 40 countries. Gibbins highlighted the data freshly released by the World Bank revealing that, on average across the world, women have three quarters the legal rights of men. She challenged companies to take a stand against legal discriminations and advocate for reforms to close the gaps so that women can achieve their full potential. The event brought together over 5,000 people from the business sector, the United Nations, member states, and civil society organizations from over 100 countries, with 75% of the participants representing the private sector.
On March 24, 2021, on the sidelines of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65), Gibbins participated in a panel hosted by the Women’s Empowerment Accelerator (WEA) titled “Women Leading Economic Recovery Through Entrepreneurship” where she highlighted the need for public-private sector partnerships to help shape an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs. Incepted by Mary Kay in collaboration with 5 UN agencies, The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator was featured as an example of the unique impact of multi-partnership to accelerate change.
On March 26-April 4, Edita Szabóová, General Manager of Mary Kay Czech Republic and Slovakia, shared remarks at the Equal Pay Day Conference where she stressed the importance of “women supporting women,” and highlighted the work of Mary Kay in nurturing women entrepreneurs through training, leadership, and mentorship. “When women come together, we can achieve extraordinary things for the benefit of women and humanity at large. Because we know that if we lift one, we lift all. At its core, Mary Kay develops and trains entrepreneurs, who, in turn, get to build their own businesses and write their own stories and legacy for their daughters,” said Szabóová.
On June 15-16, 2021, at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, Gibbins spoke at the “Women In Sustainability: Innovating In A Man’s World” main stage session advocating for women entrepreneurs as the role models needed for the economy and society. She also emphasized the critical mission of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator incepted by Mary Kay together with 5 UN agency partners: UN Women, the UN Global Compact, International Trade Centre, the International Labour Organization and the UN Development Programme. The Accelerator has committed to educating and empowering 5 million women entrepreneurs over the next 10 years. “Women entrepreneurship will play a key role in the successful pandemic recovery. This is why the mission of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is so timely. And, this is why women entrepreneurs need a framework of this magnitude,” said Gibbins.
The annual Summit convened virtually more than 25,000 leaders from business, government, the UN, and civil society, to take stock of the state of progress and to drive collective action towards alleviating climate crisis, global pandemic, economic disparities, and social inequalities.
On July 6, in Ekaterinburg, Mary Kay joined the International Industrial Trade Fair INNOPROM-2021 the main industrial, trade and export platform in Russia. Guest speaker at a panel hosted by UN Women titled “UN Women Programs for the Promotion and Development of Gender-Based Entrepreneurship,” Mary Kay highlighted the critical importance of gender-responsive procurement strategies and emphasized that the pandemic also brings a unique opportunity to advance action and to support women’s businesses around the world.
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