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Service for Foreign Policy Instruments
News article8 March 2019Service for Foreign Policy Instruments

When More Women Work, Economies Grow: European Union and UN Women partner to boost Women’s Economic Rights and Opportunities in Asia

Today, the European Union (EU) and UN Women jointly launched a 3-year WeEmpower Asia programme to encourage the private sector to expand economic participation and business opportunities for women in seven Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Funded by the EU, UN Women will implement the € 8 million programme aiming to integrate gender concerns into business practices in the region. WeEmpower Asia will promote dialogue among women’s groups and the public and private sector so as to enable a business environment that empowers women; provide skills training for female entrepreneurs to engage with businesses, policy-makers and decision-makers; and support companies to adopt the Women’s Empowerment Principles.

"Women’s economic empowerment is a pre-requisite for inclusive and equitable economic growth. It can drive gender equality outcomes and broader intergenerational benefits for women, their children, households and communities. Women who are economically empowered have greater access to income and economic assets, better control over their own economic gains and more equitable decision-making power to translate these gains into social, economic, and health benefits for themselves, their families and their societies,” stated Ambassador Mara Marinaki, EU Principal Advisor on Gender.

Anna-Karin Jatfors, UN Women’s acting Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, said: “Women make crucial contributions to the region’s economies. WeEmpower Asia will create transformative partnerships between private sector companies, female entrepreneurs and women-led businesses, and policymakers to drive social change. It will benefit not only women, but also societies and economies as a whole.”

The EU and UN Women have already joined hands working closely on women's economic empowerment in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as at G7 level under two other programmes that are being implemented simultaneously: Win-Win -- Gender equality means good business and WeEmpower -- Promoting economic empowerment of women at work through responsible business conduct. These programmes and WeEmpower Asia launched today are concrete examples of EU's commitment to gender equality and respond to an increasingly global movement that urges companies, suppliers and consumers to work together to strengthen the voice and participation of women at work.


UN Women is the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

The WeEmpower Asia programme will be funded under the EU's Partnership Instrument. The Partnership Instrument enables the EU to advance its strategic interests, shape global change and promote its fundamental values. Through the Partnership Instrument, the EU cooperates with partners around the world to address global challenges and find joint solutions to issues of mutual interest. The PI funds activities that carry forward the EU's priorities, translating political commitments into concrete measures.

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Publication date
8 March 2019
Service for Foreign Policy Instruments