Business leaders and entrepreneurs: Empowering women boosts businesses

Date: Saturday, November 9, 2019

Author: Diego De La Rosa

The panelists discuss how empowering women helps businesses. Photo: UN Women/Pathumporn Tongking
The panelists discuss how empowering women helps businesses. Photo: UN Women/Pathumporn Tongking"

Bangkok, Thailand — Private sector leaders, entrepreneurs and officials of the European Union and UN Women highlighted the “business case” for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in Asia.

Over 120 people, mostly female business owners and entrepreneurs from South-East Asia, attended the WeEmpowerAsia panel discussion hosted as part of the Oct. 30-31 AWEN’s Women CEOs Summit in Bangkok. AWEN is ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network.

Speakers raised awareness about how empowering women in the workplace boosts bottom lines; how the Women’s Empowerment Principles —a set of guidelines on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community- can support that cause; and how companies can increase investments in gender-inclusive environments.

Guiseppe Busini speaks at the panel discussion. Photo: UN Women/Pathumporn Thongking
Guiseppe Busini speaks at the panel discussion. Photo: UN Women/Pathumporn Thongking
Anna-Karin Jatfors speaks at the panel discussion. Photo: UN Women/Pathumporn Thongking
Anna-Karin Jatfors speaks at the panel discussion. Photo: UN Women/Pathumporn Thongking

WeEmpowerAsia is a three-year EU-UN Women joint programme funded by the EU. The programme promotes women’s economic participation in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, as well as gender-equal trade opportunities with Europe.

The panel discussion comprised Anna-Karin Jatfors, Deputy Regional Director of UN Women Asia and the Pacific, and a diverse group of experts -- Nadira Yusoff, CEO of KiddoCare and Head of AWEN Malaysia; Isabelle De Stobbeleir, Counsellor and Deputy Head of the Economic and Trade Section at the EU Delegation to Thailand; Yosayut Sahawatcharin, Vice President Human Resources of Unilever (Thailand); Ernest Vincent Hutagalung, Chief Financial Officer of Telkomtelstra (Indonesia); and Katherin Kirschemann, Founder of Do School.

“I am pleased to introduce WeEmpowerAsia, an EU-UN Women joint programme, funded by the EU, which aims at promoting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the region. The European Union will continue its work in Asia and at home to ensure that women are empowered, have equal access to education, financing and jobs," said Giuseppe Busini, acting Charge d'Affaires at the EU Delegation to Thailand.

Jatfors said, "We are thrilled to see so many powerful, dedicated and passionate leaders from ASEAN and the European Union coming together, all committed to create a more inclusive economy where women’s economic empowerment is realized as a human right and seen as a smart investment leading to both social development and economic growth.”

During the ASEAN Women CEOs Summit, industry leaders, CEOs and policy executives discussed the challenges that globalization poses for women in business within and outside ASEAN. They proposed steps governments and businesses should take to transform these challenges into opportunities for women.

Panel highlights

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Panel: “Empowering Women Means Business” at ASEAN Women CEOs Summit