BMO Financial Group today signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact (UNGC). Darryl White, Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group signed the Principles at the Vancouver Main Branch on the bank’s behalf. BMO is the first Canadian bank to sign the WEPs.

“BMO has championed the advancement of women for many years, from the long-term work we’ve undertaken to bring greater gender balance to our bank, to making $3 billion in capital available to women entrepreneurs across Canada,” said Mr. White.

“Our work continues. By signing the United Nations Principles for Women’s Empowerment, we are affirming our commitment to advancing economic opportunities for all and to empowering women and girls.”

The Women’s Empowerment Principles, launched in 2010 by UN Women and the UNGC, offer a platform to mobilize business action for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They guide businesses – regardless of size, sector or geography – to promote gender equality, and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The WEPs provide a gender lens through which businesses can analyze their current initiatives, benchmarks and reporting practices, and then tailor or establish policies and practices to realize gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Signing the Principles allows BMO to lead by example and participate in important case studies that allow other organizations to create frameworks to advance their own gender equality agenda.

The Women’s Empowerment Principles are:

Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality

Principle 2: Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and non-discrimination

Principle 3: Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers

Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for women

Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women

Principle 6: Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy

Principle 7: Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality

“We look at the private sector to generate innovation, employment and financing that we hope will bridge the gender gaps in the world of work ­­­­ and advance the SDGs. This will help our women, families and communities, and it is certainly good for the bottom line in business,” said Amina J. Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary General. “Companies that invest in women and support women’s leadership and decision-making, and commit to gender equality typically outperform their competitors. We believe [WEPs] offer great potential for change. I am happy to say that nearly 2,000 CEOs worldwide have already committed to them. It is now up to us to ensure that they are followed up with action and accountability.”

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