Women as levers of change for a sustainable industry during COVID-19 and beyond: UNIDO Gender Equality Mobilization Award


When: 29 November 2021 at 3 – 4:30 p.m. (CET)

Where: The event will be accessible online through the Interprefy platform and will be open to participants registered to the Conference. Non-registered participants will be able to follow the livestream on the UNIDO website.

Target participants:

  • public sector stakeholders in the country’s capital; 
  • permanent mission representations,
  • private sector representatives and
  • civil society members

from all regions that are interested in or working on issues pertaining to gender equality and the empowerment of women in industry.

The post-pandemic recovery measures represent a unique opportunity to institute bold measures for more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies that put women front and center in the post-COVID-19 industrial landscape. As the global community strives to build back better industries, economies and societies post-COVID-19, investing in women is both the right thing and the smart thing to do.

Deeply-rooted structural gender inequalities and discriminatory social norms – which have been further exacerbated by the economic and social impact of the pandemic – have resulted in unequal access to productive resources, professional opportunities and infrastructures for women and men, including in the industrial sector. For example, women-led enterprises are often found in the SME category, operate in sectors with lower profit margins and account for a disproportionate share of the SME finance gap, especially in emerging economies and low- and middle-income countries. Furthermore, the advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – i.e. automation, digitalization and artificial intelligence – are likely to negatively affect low-skill and routine manufacturing jobs where women are disproportionately represented.

At the same time, women have already been playing an important role in industrialization, including in the transition to a green economy. In fact, there is ample evidence of a correlation between the gender diversity of companies and its profitability, innovation and environmental sustainability.  For example, women are important stakeholders in driving responsible consumption and production behaviors as well as pioneering a culture of circularity– as consumers, entrepreneurs, innovators and designers.

Thus, the time is now to harness women’s full potential as leaders, innovators and agents of industrial and environmental change, and to ensure that everyone equally benefits, participates in and leads industrial development in the recovery phase. This requires targeted and inclusive policy responses and investments that take into consideration the specific needs and contributions of women as workers, business owners and entrepreneurs.