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New day for BPW and U.N.Women BPW International signs MOU with ITC on historic day for women By Freda Miriklis

UN Headquarters, NY, 2nd July 2010 BPW International and the International Trade Centre set up close cooperation to explore opportunities to assist women business enterprises access new markets and business opportunities on a historic day where the United Nations General Assembly voted to set up a body that will seek to improve the situation of women and girls around the world. To mark the birth of U.N. Women, Liz Benham, BPW International President, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Friday with Patricia R Francis, Executive Director, International Trade Centre, to assist BPW members running business enterprises in developing and transition economies, access new markets and business opportunities.

“I am delighted that BPW International has entered into this agreement with the ITC. We recognise ITC as the development partner for small business export success in developing countries. The MOU will allow us to explore new possibilities for our members (through the BPW network) to access opportunities in the value chain” said President Benham. “Trade development strategies must empower women to make a sustained impact on reducing poverty and given that the first 6 of the 8 MDGs are related to women - women must be a part of the solution to achieving the MDGs” she said. On the new UN entity for women, Ms Benham said: “BPW Affiliates throughout the world have advocated their governments and UN authorities for a stronger UN women's entity that works for women's rights and we are delighted that today we celebrate with all the women of the world in the establishment of a United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, to be known as UN Women (www.unwomen.org)”. U.N. Women will become operational on January 1, 2011. U.N. Women will consolidate four separate U.N. divisions now dealing with women's and gender issues. "U.N. Women will significantly boost U.N. efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.


A new post of under-secretary-general (USG) will be created to head U.N. Women. It will focus on supporting inter-government bodies like the Commission on the Status of Women and ensuring that all United Nations agencies and organisations live up to their commitments to gender equality, the U.N. said in a statement.

About BPW International: The International Federation of Business and Professional Women widely known as BPW International is an NGO (non- governmental organization) with member affiliates in 96 countries across five continents and is celebrating its 80th anniversary. BPW International develops the professional, leadership and business potential of women on all levels through education, advocacy, networking, mentoring, skill building and economic empowerment programs and projects around the world. About ITC: Since 1964, the International Trade Centre has helped to enable small business export success in developing countries by providing trade development programmes to the private sector, trade support institutions and policymakers. ITC works in partnership with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), supporting their regulatory, research and policy strategies and helping to turn them into practical projects. ITC’s overarching goal is to help developing countries to achieve sustainable development through exports; activating, supporting and delivering projects with an emphasis on competitiveness. To achieve this mandate, ITC works with national, regional and international bodies. However, it is the daily contact with business people and policymakers that gives ITC the unique perspective and the experience to deliver tangible results.

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