Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality: the Role of TNCs

Dialogue on Investment and Gender

Date: 14 October 2014
Time: 15:30-17:30
Location: Palais des Nations, Room XXIII
Moderator: Maria Cattaui-Livanos, former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce
Organizing parties:


This session provided a platform for policy makers, executives and international experts to discuss the role of Investment by TNCs for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality, including relevant policy dimensions and future research directions to enhance the benefits and minimize costs of TNC activities for women in developing countries.

Welcoming remarks: Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General, UNCTAD

Introducing the session: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UNWOMEN

Elements for the debate

The interactive session consisted of a moderated dialogue on the ways in which TNCs and FDI play a role in supporting women empowerment and gender equality in emerging and developing countries.  Speakers discussed the key themes developed in the report “Investment by TNCs and Gender“, highlighting their experiences on the impact of TNCs on gender, and considering avenues for policy makers to minimize risks and maximize benefits of TNC activities for women.

  • What are the gender-related effects of investment by TNCs in developing countries?
  • Which strategies by TNCs have proven effective in raising women empowerment in developing countries? What factors have contributed to their success, or lack thereof?
  • How can issues of women equality and empowerment best be integrated in policies related to FDI and TNCs policies?

The report Investment by TNCs and Gender: Preliminary Assessment and Way Forward, published by the Division of Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD, was launched during the session. The report reviews the limited available literature on FDI and Gender, illustrates main topics and themes for consideration, evaluation and intervention by policy makers; and proposes new avenues for policy-oriented research and analysis.

Speakers (in alphabetical order):

  • Sunita Rebecca Cherian, Vice President Human Resources & Global Head – Diversity & Inclusion,  Wipro Limited
  • Sarah Cook, Director, UNRISD
  • Zdenk Lončar, Assistant Minister of Entrepreneurship and Craft, the Republic of Croatia
  • Ralph Schonenbach, CEO and Founder, Trestlé Group
  • James Zhan, Director, Division of Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD