SDG 5 refers to the fifth of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. SDG 5 focuses on ending all discrimination against women and girls—not only a basic human right, but crucial for a sustainable future. The philosophy is that empowering women and girls spurs economic growth and development.
Endorsed by chief executives, the Global Compact is a practical framework for the development, implementation and disclosure of sustainability policies and practices, offering participants a wide spectrum of workstreams, management tools and resources, all designed to help advance sustainable business models and markets. With over 10,000 corporate participants and other stakeholders from over 160 countries engaged through 68 country networks, it is one of the largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiatives in the world.
“Mary Kay has passionately advocated for women’s rights and empowerment around the globe since our founding in 1963,” said Deborah Gibbins, chief operating officer of Mary Kay. “Events like the United Nations Global Compact for Gender Equality foster conversation between business and community leaders to educate on how we can make a difference and promote meaningful change in the journey to achieve SDG 5.”
Gibbins participated at the UN event as part of a panel tackling corporate leadership in gender equality. Joining her on the panel were Kim Williams, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment and Rashmi Char, vice president of engineering at Qualcomm. The panel was moderated by Holly Smithson, CEO of Athena. Nina Hachigian, deputy mayor for International Affairs of Los Angeles, was also on hand to speak.
“Gender equality in the workplace offers real benefits to everyone,” added Gibbins. “I challenge our peers in business to make a public pledge to become gender-equal by recruiting, developing and promoting women and also by encouraging female leadership throughout their organizations. According to UN Women, at current rate, it will take 140 years to achieve gender parity in top leadership positions. We can, and we must, do better. This event is an important step to work with others across the business, investment, government and academia sectors who are just as passionate about solving this issue as we are.”