22 Asia-Pacific firms recognized in UN Women 2021 Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards


[Press release]

BANGKOK, Thailand — Twenty-two companies (22) and individuals in the Asia-Pacific region were recognized this year on November 18 in a virtual ceremony streamed out of Bangkok for outstanding efforts to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in their business operations, proving that inclusivity is not only possible, but supports more resilient and competitive businesses.

The winners of the UN Women 2021 Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards stood out from over 700 applications received from 20 Asia-Pacific countries and embody the ideals laid out in the seven Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), established in 2010 by UN Women and UN Global Compact as a holistic framework to guide businesses in gender-responsive practices. Companies of all sizes and sectors can become WEPs signatories and make a commitment to empowering women.

The WEPs are one foundation of the WeEmpowerAsia Programme supported and funded by the European Union. The 8-million-euro programme aims to encourage more women to lead and equally participate in business, promoting more gender-inclusive policies and practices in the workplace, marketplace, and community. Over the past two-and-a-half years, WeEmpowerAsia has attracted more than 1,000 companies all over the region, from corporations to small and medium-sized enterprises, to become WEPs signatories.

Ambassador of the European Delegation to Thailand, H.E. Mr. David Daly delivered a keynote address at the ceremony sharing, Gender equality is a core European principle, and we are happy to support the economic empowerment of women here in Asia. Recognizing companies and businesses with outstanding workplace cultures and policies is important to inspire others to take action. The Women’s Empowerment Principles are a useful resource for businesses that want to become leaders for gender equality and, therefore, leaders of their business sector. We know today that these companies are more profitable and innovative than their peers. I encourage everyone including entrepreneurs, staff and employees, management and CEOs, to be inspired by the winners of the 2021 Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards to take action and empower women as drivers for change in the business sector.”

Sarah Knibbs, Officer-in-charge for UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, cited the crucial role of the WeEmpowerAsia Programme partners in the surge of WEPs signatories and the deepening engagement of companies across the region. “Over the past two years, we have been privileged to collaborate with partners who have demonstrated a deep understanding and commitment to the enormous socioeconomic potential that comes with empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community. It is inspiring to see the efforts of the WeEmpowerAsia Programme reflected in the gender inclusive initiatives of the awardees celebrated at the ceremony today.”

In 2021, the UN Women Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards is honored to have the support and partnership of Investing in Women, an initiative of the Government of Australia supporting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in South-East Asia. Aiming to drive workplace gender equality through commitment, targeted action, and reporting, Investing in Women is the 2021 special advisor of the gender-inclusive workplace category.

Sarah Goulding, the Assistant Secretary of the Gender Equality Branch in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, ‘Australia’s Investing in Women initiative supports coalitions of leading businesses committed to improving workplace gender equality – complementary to the work of UN Women on WEPs. Together, we are encouraging companies to embrace and contribute to the global evidence that clearly demonstrates a competitive business advantage to those who focus on workplace gender equality. The Investing in Women business coalitions provide a practical pathway for WEPs signatories to be part of a peer group of businesses championing gender equality in their workplaces and in the wider business community. I am pleased to see so many current members of the Business Coalitions recognized at the national and regional level in the 2021 WEPs Awards.’

The regional champions across the six awards categories are:

Leadership Commitment: Divya Hegde, Founder at Baeru Environmental Services 

Gender-Inclusive Workplace: Intel Malaysia

Gender-Responsive Marketplace: Bayo Manila Inc 

Community Engagement & Partnerships: The Very Group 

Transparency & Reporting: Biocon Ltd. India

Youth Leadership: Ms. Cherrie D. Atilano, Founding Farmer, President and CEO at AGREA

SME Champion: Edukyasyon.ph, Community Engagement & Partnerships

The full list of awardees is as follows:

Leadership Commitment

Winner: Divya Hegde, Founder at Baeru Environmental Services

1st Runner-Up: Arshia Ahmad Saqib, Vice President, Human Resources at Engro Fertilizers Limited

2ndRunner-Up: Jennifer Buckley, Managing Director at Sweef Capital Management Pte Ltd

Gender-Inclusive Workplace

Winner: Intel Malaysia

1stRunner-Up: NatWest Group India

2ndRunner-Up: L’Oréal Indonesia

2ndRunner-Up: PricewaterhouseCoopers Information Technologies (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

Gender-Responsive Marketplace

Winner: Bayo Manila Inc.

1stRunner-Up: Dharma Life (an initiative of Gajam India Pvt Ltd)

2ndRunner-Up: IDLC Finance Limited Bangladesh

Community Engagement & Partnerships

Winner: The Very Group

1stRunner-Up: The Body Shop Indonesia

2ndRunner-Up: Shell Companies in the Philippines

Transparency & Reporting

Winner: Biocon Ltd. India

1stRunner-Up: Gojek

2ndRunner-Up: Electricity Generating Public Company Limited (EGCO)

Youth Leadership

Winner: Ms. Cherrie D. Atilano, Founding Farmer, President and CEO at AGREA

1stRunner-Up: Tawhida Shiropa, Founder and CEO at Moner Bondhu

2ndRunner-Up: Net Supatravanij, Co-Founder at ila

SME Champion

Winner: Edukayson.ph, Community Engagement & Partnerships

1stRunner-Up: TORAJAMELO, Aparna Bhatnagar Saxena, Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Commitment

2ndRunner-Up: Julie Sandlau Vietnam, Mr. Soren Roed Pedersen, CEO, Leadership Commitment


For more information:

  • Marisa Sittheeamorn
    Marketing and Events Consultant
    WeEmpowerAsia Programme
    Email: [ Click to reveal ]

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. UN Women’s efforts are based on the fundamental belief that every woman has the right to live a life free from violence, poverty, and discrimination, and that gender equality is a prerequisite to achieving global development.

About the European Union

The European Union is the economic and political union of 27 Member States. Together, the European Union has built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance, and individual freedom. In 2012, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the goals of peace, reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe. The European Union is the world's largest trading bloc, and the world's largest source and destination of foreign direct investment. Collectively, the European Union and its member countries are the largest donors of official development assistance (ODA), providing more than half of ODA globally.

The 27 Member States of the European Union (in alphabetical order) are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.