CoSP Side Event: Women as drivers for fair and ethical business


Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt; online

CoSP Side Event

Women in business often face bias, sexism, and discrimination. Frequently excluded from leadership positions, they are affected differently by corruption in the workplace then men are. At the same time, there is evidence that organisational structures with a higher level of good governance and gender equity tend to be more transparent than those with a lower level. Hence, women, when empowered, can be important agents of change in the fight against corruption.

On December 15 the Alliance for Integrity, in cooperation with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) FairBiz, UNDP Fiji Office, Covestro and the World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption (PACI), hosted a panel discussion to share ideas and best practices in the field of gender and anti-corruption. The panel titled “Women as drivers for fair and ethical business” served as a side event during the Conference of the State Parties (CoSP) to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and showed how business integrity through a gender perspective, together with anti-corruption policies driven by women business leaders, can create impact for sustainable growth.

Around 100 participants followed the discussion that started off with a welcome note by Shinta Kamdani, CEO of Sintesa Group and Chair of B20 Indonesia. Further remarks were made by a diverse panel of women leaders, including Irene Olkeriil, President and Chair of the Palau Chamber of Commerce (PCOC), Dr. Soipetch Resanond, Vice-Chair of the Federation of Business Professional Women of Thailand, Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, and Erika Diaz, Head of Law, Intellectual Property & Compliance at Covestro Mexico.

Shinta Kamdani emphasized the correlation between gender inequality and the lack of business integrity, citing the gender pay-gap and exclusion from economic opportunity. She remarked that an equitable working environment can help to reduce corruption. She further stated that a company that “embraces integrity, equality and trust will consistently lead to higher profitability and greater sustainability.” The other speakers shared valuable insights and examples from Ghana, Palau, Thailand and Mexico. Being a representative of a private sector company herself, Erika Diaz underlined the crucial role of the private sector and stressed the need for Collective Action, urging governments to adapt public policies along a gender perspective and calling for companies to create safe workplace environments which are free of corrupt practices and focus on empowering women.

Furthermore, the webinar presented an opportunity to share pioneering and practical resources in the field of gender and anti-corruption, such as the Anti-Corruption Toolkit for Palau’s Women Entrepreneurs, Thailand’s Women Leadership in Business Integrity Training and the Integrity Coffee of the Alliance for Integrity. More tools can be found here.

Thanks to active involvement from participants, the event was concluded with key recommendations, including the need for more awareness-raising on the links between gender inequality and anti-corruption as well enhancing the capacities of young women entrepreneurs to be changemakers. The speakers and the participants also highlighted the importance of advocating and initiating dialogue with the public sector as well as ensuring that the government encourages the private sector through additional incentives to foster more gender sensitive policies. Lastly, engaging women leaders as role models for ethical businesses is needed in order to engage future female leaders to follow their example.

The recording of the event can be viewed here.

Author: Michelle Martin