In addition, we reported on what we were doing to increase the percentage of women in the CF. What an
I also had the opportunity to speak at BPW Canada’s national convention in June 2012. It was exciting to describe the wonderful opportunities available for women in the CF. I enjoyed sharing how much things had changed, from the time my parents served to the end of my own career, through personal insights and historical facts. See http://www.forces.ca/en/page/women-92 for more information.
The speaker immediately following me was Doris Hall, now Past-President of BPW Canada and WEPs Chair. I was intrigued by her topic - the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). As a leader, woman, wife, and mother, whose career up until that point had been in the ultimate
male-dominated field – the military, I felt that it was time for me to help empower women. I volunteered to become involved with promoting WEPs. My first step towards that end is the launching of this blog.
As the president of Empowered Path Inc. I signed the WEPs CEO Statement of Support in October 2012. What does that mean? Why did I take that step?
In the past several months of reading and research, I have learned that in spite of the progress in women’s rights over the past decades in Canada and other countries, women are still routinely under-valued. For an example close to home - did you know that on average Canadian women only earn 81 cents on the dollar compared to their male peers? I’m not talking about different jobs or career fields – I’m talking about women and men in the same field, with the same level of experience and
education, doing the same jobs. This came as a shock to me, because in my military career I always knew that I was paid the same as my male peers.
The next two paragraphs in my blog are unabashedly cut and paste from sections of the Women’s Empowerment Principles website http://www.weprinciples.org/Site/Overview/. Their words eloquently state the reasons behind WEPs.
“The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Global Compact collaborated to develop the Women's Empowerment Principles; a set of Principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace,
marketplace and community. Gender equality is not only a basic human right, but its achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurring productivity and growth.
Subtitled Equality Means Business, the Principles emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women's empowerment and are informed by real-life business practices and input gathered from across the globe. The Women's Empowerment Principles seek to
point the way to best practices by elaborating the gender dimension of corporate responsibility, the UN Global Compact, and business’ role in sustainable development. As well as being a useful guide for business, the Principles seek to inform other stakeholders, including governments, in their engagement with business.
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”
Don’t these principles seem like common sense? If we don’t have gender equality we lose out on the potential of half of the world’s population. In my experience, good leaders want everyone on their team to succeed; they make time to champion all of their people; women and men. However, many women are still not getting the same opportunities as men. There are a number of ways to improve this situation. The first is to admit that there is still a problem. Becoming a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles acknowledges that there is still work to be done, and that your organization is willing to step up and make a difference. When women are empowered our families, our communities, and the bottom line of our organizations all improve.
As of April 15th 2013, Canada had 21 WEPs signatories, including federal MPs, Provincial MPPs/MLAs, Municipal Councils and CEOs of public and private organizations.
If you’re ready to join these leaders by becoming a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles or you just want to read more about what is happening in Canada, check out the
following link: http://bpwcanada.com/events/womensempowementprinciples.html.
If you’d like to have a member of BPW Canada brief your company, organization or local government, or to be present when your organization becomes a WEPs signatory please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and Doris will put you in touch with the BPW Canada speaker(s) closest to
If you’d like to start talking about the Women’s Empowerment Principles right now, feel free to post comments to this blog.
Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog, I look forward to hearing from you!