Target Gender Equality

Target Gender Equality

Target Gender Equality

Setting and meeting ambitious corporate targets for women’s representation & leadership

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 Sustainable Development Goal 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.



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 your country context


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)


In order to take part In Target Gender Equality, companies are required to be participants of the UN Global Compact or willing to join, and meet the following criteria:


  • Committed to learning about corporate target setting and taking actions 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
  • Currently engaged with a Global Compact Local Network or willing to join if required by the Network


The below programme will take place virtually in each country, complemented by further optional regional and global engagement opportunities.


  • Performance Analysis and aggregate results discussions through the WEPs Gender Gap Analysis Tool
  • Three capacity building work-shops:
    • “Setting Targets & Defining Ambition”
    • “Strategies for Success”
    • “Measuring & Communicating Progress”
  • An Action Planning Guide will support participants to apply learnings within their company’s context
  • Learning opportunities through the UN Global Compact Academy
  • Multi-stakeholder Action Dialogues to jointly advocate to raise the bar for gender equality

Any questions? Please contact us

Linda van Beek

Linda van Beek

Executive Director

Marco Swan

Marco Swan

Program Manager

Participating companies

Frequently asked questions

What is Target Gender Equality?

Target Gender Equality is an accelerator programme focused on supporting companies participating in the United Nations Global Compact in setting and meeting ambitious corporate targets to advance gender equality. This initiative is run in collaboration with Global Compact Local Networks.

What theme does Target Gender Equality focus on?

The programme calls for bold action to advance gender equality at all levels and across all areas of business. The capacity-building workshops are focused on supporting companies to set targets and develop enabling action to increase women’s representation and leadership. The programme takes a holistic approach and helps companies understand the various policies, practices and interventions that are needed to advance gender equality and achieve gender parity.

What are the benefits of participating for companies?

Companies participating in Target Gender Equality will be equipped with the research, network of partners and experts, and knowledge to confidently set and meet ambitious corporate targets for women’s representation and leadership in business. Participants will have the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to measurable progress on gender equality to their employees, investors and other stakeholders and profile women in their organization who are driving business success, sustainability, and contributions towards the SDGs. Participants will also be invited to join an exclusive Target Gender Equality LinkedIn Group.

How will Target Gender Equality help my company meet its sustainability objectives and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Through Target Gender Equality, companies participating in the UN Global Compact will be challenged to assess their gender equality performance, set ambitious corporate targets and take action to address barriers to gender equality, both within their organization and their broader sphere of influence. In doing so, participants will:

  • Demonstrate commitment to and implementation of the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, in particular Principle 1 on human rights and Principle 6 on labour.
  • Demonstrate alignment with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In a recent report submitted to the Human Rights Council, the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises called for companies to set measurable targets, take measures to ensure equal representation of women in the workforce at all levels, and specifically recommended use of the Women’s Empowerment Principles Gender Gap Analysis Tool.
  • Operationalize the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). The WEPsare a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women launched providing guidance to business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Among other things, the WEPs call for businesses to “assure sufficient participation of women – 30% or greater – in decision-making and governance at all levels and across all business areas.” Over 4,000 global business leaders have signed the CEO Statement of Support for the WEPs.
  • Directly support the achievement of Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Specifically, Goal 5.5 calls for women’s full participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making, including in economic life, by 2030.
  • Create positive impact across the Sustainable Development Goals. Research shows that women’s leadership and economic empowerment is a catalyst for progress on a range of goals, from education (Goal 4) and health (Goal 3) to poverty alleviation (Goal 1) and climate action (Goal 13). π Strengthen their ESG performance. According to a meta analysis commissioned by the International Finance Corporation, there is a positive correlation between women’s representation in leadership and ESG performance.
How is Target Gender Equality related to the Women’s Empowerment Principles?

The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) were launched by the UN Global Compact and UN Women in 2010 and have been signed by 4,000+ companies. They provide a holistic framework for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The WEPs CEO Statement of Support provides an opportunity for business leaders to signal their support for gender equality. Target Gender Equality builds on and supports the objectives of the WEPs by helping companies set and meet ambitious targets for women’s representation and leadership in business – a key component of the WEPs. The WEPs will inform discussions and help companies navigate potential barriers and opportunities. Among other things, participants will use the WEPs Gender Gap Analysis Tool to get a holistic understanding of their gender equality performance and to assess current policies and practices. The WEPs CEO Statement sign-on process is managed by UN Women. Learn more here.

Target Gender Equality Global Coalition

Related events

SDG Ambition programme

SDG Ambition programme

SDG Ambition programme

Now more than ever, companies everywhere must unite in the business of a more resilient, sustainable world. Despite the progress in many areas, we are not on track to achieve the SDGs before 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022, published by UN Statistics, warns that the COVID-19 pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine are reversing progress on the SDGs. It highlights the need for countries and companies to do more to meet the 2030 Agenda.

While 84 percent of companies surveyed take action on SDGs, only 46 percent are implementing them in their business strategy and only 37 percent design business models that contribute to SDGs. These percentages are not high enough.

It is clear that there is a need for more corporate ambition, but also that this ambition is translated into concrete actions. That’s why the UN Global Compact, in partnership with SAP and Accenture, launched the SDG Ambition Programme. SDG Ambition is an accelerator initiative that aims to challenge and support participating companies of the UN Global Compact in setting ambitious corporate targets and accelerating integration of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into core business management.

The SDG Ambition was launched during the WEF 2020 in Davos. Eric Rondolat, CEO of Signify, was one of the three speakers during the part for the local networks. The SDG Ambition is rolled out by the local networks on a national level. After two successful rounds in 2020 and 2021, we also offer this program this year. The training program will start in the Netherlands in October 2022.

SDG Ambition will enable your company to go beyond incremental progress and take a step further with transformational change – unlocking business value, building resilience and enabling long-term growth.


The SDG Ambition programme

The SDG Ambition programme consists of three modules between October 2022 and April 2023 with both on-demand and live sessions. During these sessions, participants work on challenging assignments, both alone and with other participants. By working together with people from other fields, participants are motivated to think out of the box and share knowledge and best practices.
Each participant will spend approximately 30 hours on the entire programme. These are not additional hours as they will replace the old way of operations, value chain and production/service delivery. Each participating company must have two representatives participate in the program.
The SDG Ambition is open to members of Global Compact Network Netherlands. There are no costs involved in participating in the programme.
The main language during the program is English. The programme is being rolled out in cooperation with Accenture. The live workshops will be hosted via Zoom.

What you will gain from the six months accelerator programme:

● A clear understanding of baseline impacts across the business in creating a comprehensive sustainability strategy.
● The ability to achieve ambitious goals aimed at formulating business action with what is actually needed to achieve the SDGs.
● The knowledge that is needed to integrate the SDGs and mainstream across all business units by pioneering a presentation integration approach using enabling technologies.
● An opportunity to improve the way you communicate and record according to the Communication on Progress (CoP).

For whom is the SDG Ambition?

We call upon all members of Global Compact Netwerk Nederland to sign up for the SDG Ambition. We ask participants to demonstrate commitment to strengthen the business objectives set and take measures to increase progress on SDGs. Each company appoints two representatives to participate in the program. In addition, an “SDG Champion” at the executive level is designated to monitor the developments in the program and provide support where necessary.

Interested in participating?

The application deadline is September 30.

Get started with the ‘Decade of Action and Delivery’ together with your colleagues. Apply via the UN Global Compact website or contact Marco Swan,

SDG Ambition Q&A session

Have questions about your company participating in the SDG Ambition Accelerator for the 2021-2022 round? Watch the recording of the Q&A session to learn how your company can set ambitious corporate targets and accelerate integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into core business management. As we set out to recover better together from the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time for all companies to raise their ambition for people, planet and prosperity — taking action across all of the SDGs and at a scale that can create the tipping points for the world we want.

Lotte Mastwijk, Manager Communications & Sustainability at LC Packaging describes the disruptions in their operations directly linked to challenges such as climate change and fossil fuel scarcity. To alleviate risks and to reduce the consequences of these disruptions she then emphasizes the need to define strategies to build supply chain resilience, such as investing in climate change mitigation and climate-resilient infrastructure and to green the company’s operations, and eliminate dependency on fossil fuels.

Participating companies

Ambition Guide: Setting Goals for the Decade of Action

This publication establishes the initial set of SDG Ambition Benchmarks that challenge organizations to set more ambitious goals and targets in the areas in which business is positioned to have a substantial impact. Business leaders can use this document to support their strategy and set goals ambitious enough to deliver the SDGs by 2030.

Integration Guide: Designing Business Systems for the SDGs

This publication presents the approach through which the ten SDG Ambition Benchmarks can be integrated into core business processes and systems to enable effective measurement & management of sustainability performance. Business leaders can use this publication to identify the system opportunities to integrate the SDGs into core business processes.

SDG Ambition Benchmark Reference Sheets (for consultation)

These documents provide illustrative details regarding the steps to integrate each of the SDG Ambition Benchmarks into a company’s business systems, as well as the key design decision required to engage technology partners.

SDG Ambition – Scaling Business Impact for the Decade of Action

This publication is an introduction to SDG Ambition — a new initiative of the UN Global Compact. By raising ambition, deepening integration, and embracing new technologies we believe business can become a leading actor in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With the launch of SDG Ambition, the UN Global Compact is proud to share its new SDG Implementation Framework, which aims to guide companies to deepen integration of the SDGs and Ten Principles into business strategy, operations, and stakeholder engagement.

SDG Pioneers

SDG Pioneers

SDG Pioneers


The Sustainable Development Goals lay out a clear vision for a sustainable future, representing an opportunity to shape a new era for responsible business. Each year the United Nations Global Compact celebrates a group of SDG Pioneers — business leaders who are doing an exceptional job to advance the Global Goals through the implementation of our Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. In our search for the 2022 cohort of SDG Pioneers, we encourage professionals working at any level of a UN Global Compact participating company who are leveraging a principles-based approach to set ambitious, scalable and impactful SDG targets to apply.

National SDG Pioneers submission period opens 1 December 2021.

As part of the UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers programme, Global Compact Local Networks spanning all continents will launch on 1 December 2021 a national search for professionals who are committed to achieving the SDGs. Selected national-level Pioneers will be locally recognized and advance to the global round which will open on 14 January 2022.

Employees of companies participating in the UN Global Compact are welcome to submit their own stories describing their contributions towards sustainable development or nominate a colleague for consideration in the SDG Pioneers programme.

You can apply or nominate someone from 1 December until 31 January 2022.


  • Employee engagement and recognition – The program provides companies with an opportunity to highlight how their employees are advancing the SDGs and are indeed next generation leaders.
  • Enable change agents for the SDGs – Leadership in the 2030 era requires change agents, and the SDG Pioneers Program provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for professionals to push their vision forward within their organizations and create change.
  • National and global recognition – SDG Pioneers will receive visibility and be recognized for the great work that they have done to advance the SDGs. The Global SDG Pioneers will be announced at the 2022 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit. De Global SDG Pioneers will be recognized during the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit.

“I am proud that I was acknowledged as Runner Up in the SDG Pioneer program of 2019. To be able to achieve the SDGs we need to share ideas and bring new solutions on the table. To have positive & constructive dialogues. Therefore it is important that we have initiatives like the SDG Pioneer program where companies and individuals share their contribution towards the SDGs. It’s the decade of action, every action counts. But only if we share, it can be multiplied.”

Wineke Haagsma

“It was a huge honour to be named as one of the global SDG Pioneers of 2019. As such, I attended the General Assembly of the UN in New York in September last year. It was a truly enriching experience and I would highly recommend this opportunity to anyone. I met inspiring people who are very motivated and want to make positive contributions to sustainable development in the world. Looking at the nature of the SDGs, it is clear that all of us need to be working towards their achievement, and particularly businesses need to take an active role. At the end of the day, it is about our own future.”

Dylan McNeill

Read Dylan’s sustainability story



DATE Period
1 December 2021 Launch of local rounds
1 December 2021 – 31 January 2022 Submission round
1 February 2022 – 28 February 2022 Review process
1 March 2022 Local winners announced
14 January 2022 – 15 March 2022 Global submission round
Mid June 2022 Announcement and recognition UN Global Compact Leaders Summit

Do you have any questions?

Please don ‘t hesitate to contact us.

Linda van Beek

Executive Director

Marco Swan

Program Manager