UN Women and the commitment that comes from it



Just a few days ago in my blog, I chose to share some reflections on the importance of a woman’s approach to leadership.

The cue was how Christine Lagarde, at the head of the International Monetary Fund, has contributed to changing the perception of this agency globally as a result of her more collaborative and communicative approach to leadership.

Today, I would like to return to this subject because recently, on behalf of Benetton Group, I joined what I feel is a very significant initiative: UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. It is a global initiative, created a couple of years ago under the aegis of the UN General Assembly, to address the challenges faced by women across the world and accelerate progress in an environment where even today gender inequality sadly remains deeply rooted.

This initiative is just a first step, one that I wanted to take as soon as possible, as I felt it was important to send a strong signal. Our Group has always been committed to integrating economic growth and social responsibility, competitiveness and ethics. Women – with their moral values, daily commitment, sensitivity and ability to listen – play a full role in the plans and activities of the company. Joining UN Women is a first step, as I said. We can do more, and I will ensure we do, in Italy and in all the 120 countries where our company is present. This is the commitment I am making.

There are currently many noteworthy initiatives in Italy and around the world concerning this important subject. Among them I would like to mention the Women in the World summit, taking place in New York this week, conceived by Tina Brown, editor in chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, which will see, among others, the participation of Christine Lagarde herself. While we’re on the subject of Tina Brown, I would like to share with you a message I received from her after she read my post about Lagarde:

I enjoyed your post on a woman’s way of leadership and wanted to add to his point.
As editor-in-chief of Newsweek & The Daily Beast, I’ve long been privy to the benefits a powerful female workforce can bring to a rapidly evolving company. But many businesses are just waking up to this fact, that hiring more women can pay real dividends.
That’s the powerful message another recent article in Newsweek conveys, as written by Melanne Verveer, the U.S ambassador for global women’s issues for the State Department and the unstoppable Kim Azzarelli, President of the Women in the World Foundation (and a recent recipient of the NY State Bar Association Ruth G. Schapiro Award). Melanne and Kim tackle a corporate revolution afoot, detailing the ways businesses from Avon to Ernst have linked arms in their mission to bring 1 billion women to the mantle of the global economy.
The feature is ‘Why the Global Economy Needs Businesses to Invest in Women,’ and I’d encourage you read it on The Beast.

Tina Brown