EU-funded project WeEmpowerAsia launches UN Women Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards

Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2020

[Press release]

With support from the European Union, UN Women has launched the 2020 Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards to recognize exemplary business practice for gender equality, aligned to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs).

Bangkok, Thailand — Timed with the 10th anniversary of the WEPs, the Awards will offer business leaders and companies a unique opportunity to be recognized and make their efforts to advance gender equality visible amongst their customers, employees and partners, as well as inspire others to take action for wider impact.

Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director, UN Women Asia and the Pacific, is proud of the initiative and the opportunities to advance gender equality it provides: “The year 2020, marking the anniversaries of the Women’s Empowerment Principles and the Beijing Platform for Action, is an important milestone for driving corporate action on women’s equality and inclusion. We now not only have the momentum, but also the power to take our actions to the next level. In that spirit, I invite companies that champion women’s economic empowerment to nominate their CEOs for the Awards.”

H.E. Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand, is looking forward to the new spirit of collaboration and community the Awards will bring: “It is important that all key actors – policymakers, business leaders, and civil society – come together and do their part to empower women as business leaders and entrepreneurs. In times of economic recovery from COVID-19, joining forces to ensure gender equality in the work place is key to building back better. The WEPs Awards are a great opportunity for businesses, companies and entrepreneurs to demonstrate leadership and impact.”  

Katja Freiwald, WeEmpowerAsia Regional Programme Manager, UN Women Asia and the Pacific, said: “As we embark on the next decade of the Women’s Empowerment Principles, we’re celebrating this milestone by honouring business action that empower women in the Asia-Pacific. Signing the WEPs – one of the world’s largest public-private efforts for gender equality - is just the first step. Now it’s time to fast-track your SDG 5 impact, share your best practices, share your actions, get visible and inspire others.”

Established by UN Women and United Nations Global Compact, the WEPs are a set of 7 principles guiding businesses to become more gender-responsive across their value chain. Support for the seven Principles has gathered global momentum – thousands of companies worldwide regardless of size and sector are now WEPs champions – and therefore also contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The call for applications are now open to all Asia-Pacific countries until September 25th (Bangkok time). The Awards will recognize initiatives in the following categories: Leadership, Youth Leadership (for leaders until 30 years of age), Gender-Inclusive Workplace, Gender-Responsive Marketplace, Community and Industry Engagement, and COVID-19 Action.

Applicants from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam will have the chance to be recognized in the National WEPs Awards in November as part of the wider initiative by the EU-funded project WeEmpowerAsia of UN Women.

All applicants, including National WEPs Awards Winners, will have the opportunity to be selected as Asia-Pacific regional winners and celebrate in the larger Regional Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards on December 10, 2020.

Key Dates (Updated):

  • October 12: Final day for all applications (Bangkok time)
  • October 26 - 30: Shortlisted applicants notified by email  
  • November 11 - December 1: National ceremonies in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam  
  • December 15: Regional ceremony (time and format TBC) 

Related Links:

For more details about the Awards or to start your application process, please visit

For the event announcer, read here.

Help spread the word! Download our social media and invitation package and share them widely within your networks. Follow the hashtags #WeEmpowerAsia #WEPs10 and #WEPsAwards for updates on UN Women’s Facebook and Twitter channels @unwomenasia.


For more information, please contact:

Bovornpong Vathanathanakul
Communications Analyst, WeEmpowerAsia
UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

About the European Union
The European Union is made up of 27 member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms.

About UN Women
UN Women is the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, the organization was established in 2010 to accelerate progress on women's rights worldwide.

About WeEmpowerAsia
WeEmpowerAsia is a UN Women programme funded by and in partnership with the European Union that seeks to increase the number of women who lead and participate in business in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. A key component of the programme is to mobilize private sector companies to become gender-responsive by committing to and implementing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs).

About Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs)
The Women's Empowerment Principles - Equality Means Business is a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact. The Principles outline seven steps for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Principles highlight that empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors and throughout all levels of economic activity is essential to build strong economies; establish more stable and just societies; achieve internationally agreed goals for development, sustainability, and human rights; improve quality of life for women, men, families and communities; and propel business' operations and goals.