Statement on the First Anniversary of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator | Business– Get a quote for free

NEW YORK – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Sep. 25, 2020–

Please find below the statement from the leadership of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator regarding the first anniversary of this groundbreaking initiative.

Anita Bhatia, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women

One year ago, we made a commitment to train and empower ten million women entrepreneurs over the next ten years, as part of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA). We have begun to lay the groundwork for a systemic transformation aimed at breaking down the barriers that prevent women from achieving financial independence and contributing to a better future for themselves and their communities.

Today, in our current unprecedented reality, women find themselves at a historic crossroads. They are disproportionately affected by the economic devastation caused by COVID-19, even though they hold the keys to the recovery. Although women make up 39% of global employment, they accounted for 54% of overall job losses during the pandemic, and are significantly more likely to be employed in vulnerable sectors such as production, education, tourism, hospitality, food services, as well as wholesale and retail. Women-owned businesses are particularly vulnerable to economic shocks. Nonetheless, under a scenario in which we act today to combat these trends, women's economic participation could generate an additional US $ 13 trillion in global GDP by 2030. 1 It is in every nation's interest to place women at the heart of post-pandemic development and economic reconstruction efforts.

This is why women entrepreneurs must become the architects of a new global economy, namely a sustainable, resilient and equitable economy for all. It is our collective responsibility to create an enabling environment, in which women-led businesses act as drivers of transformation:

  • Policy frameworks: We call on UN member states to develop national policy frameworks with concrete goals and national data-driven targets to increase the number of women-owned businesses and build capacity. We commend the efforts of countries that have already established responses to COVID-19, aimed at financing and providing services to women entrepreneurs; 2 Sadly, women-owned businesses are missing from most national strategies and measures to support SMEs.
  • Access to financing: The private and public sectors must come together to increase investment in women-owned businesses, during the pandemic and beyond. This includes the development of innovative financial solutions, via equity and debt financing, as well as the introduction of tax incentives to support the sectors most affected by COVID-19.
  • Procurement: Governments and businesses of all sizes can drive incredible economic change by buying from women-owned businesses. Re-launch the increased representation of women-owned businesses, in the supply chain, by proactively researching women-owned businesses, setting and monitoring goals, as well as promoting access for women entrepreneurs to new supply opportunities.
  • Digital training: Women entrepreneurs need access to information, digital skills and training, which will enable them to become leaders and creators in the online world. It's time to close the digital gender divide, and ensure that women are connected to accessible and flexible educational resources.
  • Social protection : Women and girls perform 75% of unpaid household and care work around the world, a percentage that has only increased during the pandemic. Social protection, which includes parental leave, state-funded child care, health insurance and unemployment benefits, needs to be strengthened to cover the needs of women in formal and informal jobs, including those in work. on their own. This will stabilize entire communities, giving more women the opportunity to consider an entrepreneurial journey.
  • Intersectoral promotion: We all play an important role in supporting female entrepreneurship. The public sector, the private sector, civil society organizations, professional associations, schools and universities can work together to build an ecosystem for women entrepreneurs to succeed. 3

We risk leaving millions of women by the wayside, and losing decades of progress on gender equality, if we do not focus on the needs of women as part of the pandemic response, on the long term. This includes tackling long-standing obstacles and ensuring safety for all women.

The negative consequences of COVID-19 have exacerbated existing inequalities that prevent women from different backgrounds from participating equally in the labor market. It is important to apply an intersectional approach in developing strategies to support the economic needs of all women, as part of recovery efforts.

Creating a suitable world for women-owned businesses generates cascading positive change that will benefit everyone. Our collective response must tackle inequalities, and build sustainable, women-centered economies.

Investing in women entrepreneurs is a key element in extricating ourselves from the pandemic, by becoming stronger, more inclusive and more resilient societies. Our future depends on it.

Deputy Executive Director of UN Women

Executive Director of the International Trade Center (ITC)

Executive Director a.i. of the United Nations Office for Partnerships

COO of Mary Kay Inc.

About the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is an initiative launched by several partners to inspire, train and empower women entrepreneurs around the world. The Accelerator’s mission is to break down barriers faced by women entrepreneurs around the world, building on four pillars of empowerment: Training, Funding, Promotion and Participation. Without restriction of eligibility to participate, this global initiative created by Mary Kay Inc. is the result of a strategic collaboration developed in consultation with six United Nations agencies: UN Women, the United Nations Office for Partnerships for Partnerships, UNOP), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Trade Center (ITC), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) ). The Accelerator intends to economically empower 10 million women by the end of the year 2030.

UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global advocate for women and girls, UN Women was created to accelerate progress towards meeting their needs around the world.

UN Women supports UN member states as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programs and services for gender equality. ensuring that standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls around the world. It works internationally to realize the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals for women and girls, and advocates for the equal participation of women in all aspects of life, focusing on four strategic priorities:

UN Women also coordinates and promotes the work of the United Nations system to advance gender equality, and all deliberations and agreements associated with the 2030 Agenda. The entity works to position gender equality as a fundamental element of the Sustainable Development Goals, and a more inclusive world.

About the International Trade Center

The International Trade Center (ITC) is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC helps microenterprises as well as small and medium-sized enterprises to develop and transform economies towards better competitiveness in international markets, in order to contribute to sustainable economic development under the Aid-for-Trade program and of the Sustainable Development Goals, of the United Nations.

ITC's SheTrades initiative aims to connect three million women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses to international markets by 2021. SheTrades works with governments, corporations and business support organizations, to conduct research, shape empowering trade policies and regulations, facilitate financing, and expand access to public tenders and supply chains for businesses. companies. The initiative provides women entrepreneurs with a diverse learning environment and a flexible curriculum on its platform For more information, visit, and follow ITC on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Flickr.

About the International Labor Organization

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is a specialized UN agency that was created in 1919, in the aftermath of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the principle that lasting and universal peace cannot can only be established if it is based on social justice. The main objectives of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent work opportunities, improve social protection as well as strengthen dialogue in all labor matters. The unique tripartite structure of the IOT gives an equal voice to workers, employers and governments, to ensure that the views of social partners are closely reflected in labor standards, as well as in policy and program development. .

The ILO's Women's Entrepreneurship Development (ILO-WED) program is part of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Unit, and has been in operation for over a decade. . ILO-WED strives to increase economic opportunities for women, by carrying out positive actions aimed at supporting women in the creation, formalization and development of their business, and by integrating equality issues. gender, in the ILO's work for enterprise development. Website: | Twitter – @ILOWED | Facebook – ILO WED (International Labor Organization)

About the United Nations Global Compact

As a special initiative of the United Nations General Secretariat, the United Nations Global Compact is a call for companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with the ten universal principles in the areas of human rights. people, labor, the environment and the fight against corruption. Launched in 2000, the mandate of the United Nations Global Compact aims to guide and support the global business community, to advance

the goals and values ​​of the United Nations, through responsible business practices. With more than 10,000 companies and 3,000 non-commercial signatories, based in over 160 countries, and over 60 local networks, this is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world.

To learn more, follow @globalcompact on social media, and visit our website at

About the United Nations Office for Partnerships

The United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) aims to become the trusted platform for partners to connect, and create opportunities and solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Office for Partnerships works globally, regionally and nationally to transform the world through SDG partnerships, for people and the planet.

The Office oversees the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships, the United Nations Democracy Fund, the SDG Action Hub, and the General Secretariat's SDG Defenders. For more information, visit:

Mary Kay Ash, one of the first 'glass ceiling breakers', founded her beauty company over 57 years ago, with three goals: to develop rewarding opportunities for women, to deliver compelling products and to make the better world. From this dream was born a company that today represents billions of dollars with millions of independent sales representatives in almost 40 countries. Mary Kay's mission is to invest in the science behind beauty and in the manufacture of state-of-the-art skin care, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and fragrances. Mary Kay is committed to empowering women and their families by partnering with organizations around the world, focusing on supporting cancer research, protecting survivors of domestic violence, beautifying our communities and encouraging children to pursue their dreams. Mary Kay Ash's initial vision continues to shine, one lipstick at a time. To learn more, visit

1 McKinsey Global Institute, COVID-19 and gender equality: Countering the regressive effects, by Anu Madgavkar, Olivia White, Mekala Krishnan, Deepa Mahajan, and Xavier Azcue (July 2020 )

2 Including Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Georgia, Honduras, Ireland, Mexico, Morocco, Paraguay and the United Kingdom. The responses of gender equality policies to COVID-19 from several countries are available through the “COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker” (Monitoring of the global response to COVID-19 in terms of equality). Gender), UN Women and UNDP, at

The text of the press release resulting from a translation should in no way be considered official. The only authentic version of the press release is that of the press release in its original language. The translation must always be compared to the source text, which will set a precedent.

International Trade Center



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