Target Gender Equality

Setting and reaching ambitious corporate targets for women's representation and leadership across business at all levels.

Target Equality-United Kingdom

The business case for women’s representation and leadership

Women's business leadership has been a talking point in the private sector for decades – yet progress remains slow. According to a recent ILO study, over 50% of corporate boards have low female representation and over 13% of boards are all-male. Women are also underrepresented in senior management roles, especially strategic management functions. For example, it is estimated that only 16% of senior P&L roles are held by women.

The implications of inaction on gender equality have a negative impact on economic growth and business success, not to mention the Global Goals and our shared goals on matters such as climate change, decent work, and health, if the talents, skills, and innovation of women continue to be undervalued.


Taking bold action to increase female representation and leadership in business is needed more than ever, and public support for gender equality from the business community is stronger than it has ever been: over 2300 business leaders have signed the CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles, and when asked, 85% of CEOs agree than “Women’s participation and leadership in business is a critical driver of company performance”.

Gender equality is also good for business:

Programme overview

Target Gender Equality is a gender equality accelerator programme for participating companies of the UN Global Compact. Through facilitated performance analysis, capacity building workshops, peer-to-peer learning and multi-stakeholder dialogue at the country-level, Target Gender Equality will support companies engaged with the UN Global Compact in setting and reaching ambitious corporate targets for women’s representation and leadership, starting with the Board and Executive Management levels.

Companies participating in Target Gender Equality have the opportunity to deepen implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles and strengthen their contribution to SDG 5.5, which calls for equal women representation, participation and leadership in business globally. Companies will be equipped with the latest data and research supporting the business case for gender equality and gain insights from UN partners and experts on how to accelerate progress on gender equality.

A global programme

Focused on local collaboration

Accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Driving bold business action to increase women’s representation and leadership in business

Programme benefits

Confidently set ambitious and realistic corporate targets for gender equality demonstrating commitment and action to your employees, investors and other stakeholders

Understand your current gender equality performance through the facilitated use of the Women’s Empowerment Principles Gender Gap Analysis Tool

Engage in accelerated learning opportunities specific to UK

Build a network of peers, UN partners and experts to support your gender equality strategy and work collectively to tackle persistent barriers to gender equality

Showcase women in your company who are driving business success, sustainability and contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Eligibility requirements

A business Participant or Signatory of the UN Global Compact

Currently engaged with the UN Global Compact Network UK or willing to join

Committed to strengthening corporate target setting and action to increase women’s representation and leadership in business

Willing to appoint two representatives to participate in programme activities and events and an executive-level “Ambassador” to follow programme developments, provide support and participate in high-level events

Costs of joining

Free for: UK Network members on the Participant Engagement Tier;

£350+VAT for: UK Network members on the Signatory Engagement Tier.

You can check your company's engagement tier here.


By the end of 2022, the UN Global Compact aims to mobilise and support 1000 companies to set corporate targets and take ambitious action to increase women’s representation and leadership in business, at all levels and across all areas.

  • Support ambitious corporate target setting through facilitated performance analysis and capacity building at country level;
  • Promote the comprehensive business case for women’s full participation and leadership in business, including financial and non-financial performance;
  • Support companies in creating more gender-inclusive businesses aligned with the Women’s Empowerment Principles;
  • Connect business to UN partners and other experts that can further support business action to advance SDG 5.5;
  • Foster policy and stakeholder dialogue at the country level to address barriers to women’s representation and leadership in business;
  • Showcase and promote women’s business leadership driving corporate sustainability and progress on the Global Goals;
  • Demonstrate that gender equality is a key component of corporate sustainability and business’ contribution to the Global Goals.

SDG 5.5:

Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life



You can download our Programme Timeline in PDF version here.

Interested in participating?

Global Compact Network UK is delighted to announce our participation in Target Gender Equality. Our programme will be running from April 2020 – March 2021 and will include several activities: performance analysis, capacity building workshops, peer-to-peer learning opportunities and multi-stakeholder dialogue at the country-level:


Tailored facilitation of the WEPs Gender Gap Analysis Tool, a free, user/friendly, and confidential online platform that helps companies to assess current policies and programmes, highlight areas for improvement, and identify opportunities to set future corporate goals and targets.


In-country and global exchange workshops with peers and experts to help companies set and meet ambitious targets, aligned with SDG 5.5. Different dimensions will be explored and workshops will be designed to recognise and respond to different country contexts.


Organisation of high-level dialogues with business, government, investors, and other stakeholders focused on identifying concrete actions and generating tangible commitments to remove external barriers and strengthen drivers for women’s business leadership.


Through a global campaign and targeted communications, the UN Global Compact will call for urgent business action to increase women’s representation and leadership in business. A range of communication channels will be leveraged, including web, social media, and the monthly bulletin of the UN Global Compact.

Registrations are now open on the UN Global Compact website until 30 June.

Do you have any questions? Please see our Brochure, Target Gender Equality FAQ or the recording of our Introduction to Target Gender Equality webinar, embedded below.

For any further detail, please contact Karla Drpić.

Target Gender Equality