Edinburgh, Scotland – November 2019
Women’s Economic Imperative Post-Conference Statement
The conference in Edinburgh, Scotland brought together thought leaders from every continent representing civil society, the private sector, public sector, and academia. As a group, they shared knowledge and engaged participants in active dialog and problem-solving to advance the women’s economic empowerment agenda for the benefit of all. WEI’s goal for this conference was to craft solutions, define specific actions, and mobilize commitments by participants, partners and networks to act and make an impact.
We are in the final decade of the SDG 2030 Agenda and far short of attaining the targets. Since Goal 5, women’s economic empowerment, cuts across all the SDGs…“We will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if there is no accelerated action to empower women economically”. The challenge, therefore, is to identify and implement solutions to address gender inequities at all levels.
Eliminating gender inequities, fully accounting for women’s economic contribution in the care economy and informal work, and facilitating women’s participation in the economic space will not only contribute to faster economic growth, but is essential for improving social, health, and political outcomes globally.
Conference participants recognized that:
Female entrepreneurship represents a vast, but under-valued source of innovation, job creation and economic growth globally.
Women’s entrepreneurship is not homogeneous. It is manifested in different ways, in different contexts and geographies. Moreover, women entrepreneurs face unique challenges in terms of their access to opportunities, markets, and resources.
Women-owned and women-led businesses create jobs, support communities, and achieve higher productivity, innovation, and exports.
We must take a disruptive approach to tackling the systemic barriers to women’s economic participation and to reducing the widening gaps in incomes, access to resources, health and resilience. When women are better off, societies are better off.
Access to education, digital and financial resources must be more inclusive to help unleash the potential of girls and women entrepreneurs. Women and girls must be included in the transformation to a digital society to facilitate leapfrogging productivity and social development.
Women’s health is a critical economic and social value. The health and prosperity of women are inexorably bound up with the social determinants of health and wellbeing of a population.
Participants made commitments to action in several key areas. WEI is committed to catalyzing action and supporting the implementation of key commitments wherever feasible.
January 22, 2020
 United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, March 2017.