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CEOs unite in response to backlash on gender equality

Business leaders from more than 20 organizations will join a CEO Roundtable at the United Nations on 14 March to discuss strategies to advance gender equality in the face of backlash against global diversity and inclusion efforts.
While progress on gender equality within organizations has been welcomed by most, many people are yet to engage in the change, while others remain outright resistant.
The CEOs will discuss drivers of resistance — which include lack of understanding, fear, change fatigue, cultural and industry norms — and practical actions to help organizations understand and address the range of responses to gender equality strategies.
Organized by the United Nations Global Compact and Male Champions of Change during the Commission on the Status of Women, the CEO Roundtable on Advancing Progress on Gender Equality aims to help achieve truly gender-equal and inclusive workplaces.
“We can’t afford to take two steps back for every step forward,” says Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “Gender equality is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes business sense. As we push for progress, there will be people who push back, shy away or fail to see the value of our action to advance equality. But we must keep moving forward.”
Elizabeth Broderick, Founder and Convener of Male Champions of Change and Independent Expert on the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women says that a certain level of backlash on gender equality efforts is to be expected, but it is also a sign of progress. “Bringing about change requires perseverance and courage. It also calls for change makers to engage with the range of responses, rather than dismissing the views of those who stand in the way of reform. When we work to understand the reason for resistance we are far more effective in our efforts to achieve significant and lasting change.”
The CEO Roundtable builds on the work the Male Champions of Change released in 2018 with Chief Executive Women, titled “Backlash and Buy-in: Responding to the Challenges in Achieving Gender Equality”. Those attending the roundtable will share their experiences, learn from each other and commit to continuing their active leadership on gender equality.
About the United Nations Global Compact
As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, the mandate of the UN Global Compact is to guide and support the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 9,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 70 Local Networks, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world.

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