March 16, 2016


President, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International, Elizabeth A. Vazquez, will serve on the newly formed UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

In addition to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, Panel Members will include world leaders such as the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, the President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, and the CEO of IKEA, Simona Scarpaleggio.

“It is an honor to serve as a Panel Member with so many prestigious champions of women’s economic empowerment,” said Vazquez. “More money in the hands of women means more prosperity for all of us and is at the heart of long-term economic stability and development. I am confident that the Panel will be able to effect meaningful global impact at scale.”

The inaugural Panel meeting which took place at UN headquarters in New York on March 15 provided a platform for Members to discuss and identify priority topics to be addressed by the Panel and to be featured in the Panel’s reports, the first of which is scheduled to be published in September of 2016. In the discussions, Panel Members were invited to consider the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and concrete recommendations that can be made to governments, civil society, private sector, and other stakeholders on interventions proven to be efficient in tackling persistent obstacles to women’s economic empowerment. WEConnect International (www.weconnectinternational.org) helps women-owned businesses succeed in global value chains.

WEConnect International identifies, educates and certifies women’s business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women, and connects them with member buyers. WEConnect International members are committed to inclusive sourcing and represent over US$1 trillion in annual purchasing power. WEConnect International supports and promotes women-owned businesses in 100 countries.

CONTACT: Cate Urban, Director of Communications WEConnect International Phone: +1 202 810 6009 Email: curban@weconnectinternational.org

The UN has shared photos from the inaugural event on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unwomen/sets/72157665922350236/with/25188073834/

See the UN Women press release and video footage from the event here: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2016/3/press-release-highlevel-panel-on-wee-holds-inaugural-meeting