03 May Women’s Empowerment Principles
VNV Photography was asked to capture the UN’s Women WEP Launch at BNP Paribas on May 1st 2012. The WEP or Women’s Empowerment Principles is a campaign by UN Women asking companies to sign a CEO Statement that supports the empowerment of women in the workplace. The aim is to make a better working environment and community to be in by having more women in senior positions. As a woman myself I found the idea of this event very compelling and I couldn’t wait to attend.
The launch included several high-profile speakers such as Baroness Northover, Liberal Democrat peer and government spokeswoman on international development, as well as Cynthia Carroll, chief executive of mining giant Anglo American. Other speakers included Robert Swannell, chairman of Marks & Spencer and Marie Sigsworth, Group Corporate Responsibility Director at Aviva who talked about her experience in improving gender equality.
This event was truly inspiring and empowering, it came to me as a shock that even in this modern age, where women and men are supposed to have equal opportunities in employment, there are still things such as ‘unconscious gender bias’, especially in senior positions.
One phrase that caught my attention at the beginning of the event was when Dr Heather McGregor said “Men, if you feel outnumbered in this room, now you know how we feel a lot of the time.” That phrase stuck because until then, I didn’t notice that this was such a reality.