Societe Generale and UN Women Empowerment Goals


Societe Generale gathers the French business community in support of women's empowerment

Societe Generale Middle East, the first bank in the United Arab Emirates to become a signatory to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), hosted a reception on March 7 in honour of French companies in the region that also plan to commit to increase and improve the social, economic, political and legal strength of the women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Cabinet Member and the Minister of State for Tolerance, gave a keynote speech at the reception, which was attended by representatives from the United Nations Global Compact and the French Embassy and gathered French companies from multinationals to SMEs as they became signatories to the WEPs. The French Business Council and the French Business Group, whose members come from the French business communities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively, also supported this initiative.

“We are extremely pleased with the way the French business community has come together to support women’s empowerment,” said Mahmoud El Burai, Representative of the United Nations Global Compact in the UAE. “We hope their actions will create a snowball effect and encourage more corporations and business groups to join us in working to enhance the local business environment and the community at large.”

“Equality between women and men, declared as a national goal by French President Emmanuel Macron, is essential for harmonious social development and must prevail in both the private and public sectors,” said Estelle Pagnon-Pouille, wife of the French Ambassador to the UAE His Excellency Ludovic Pouille. “The French Embassy is proud to carry this message and support these efforts in the United Arab Emirates, and I congratulate Societe Generale and the other signatories of the WEPs for setting an example.”

Societe Generale, which signed the WEPs at the Group and regional level in 2016, has been active in putting the principles into practice in the UAE and the wider region in line with its commitment. As well as encouraging its peers to become signatories, it has set up a networking and financial literacy club for women to empower businesswomen in their financial decision-making. The Club, called ‘The Circle’, had its inaugural event in September for members of the Dubai Business Women Council, and more sessions will be held this year in Abu Dhabi and in other Gulf countries.

“Since becoming one of the very first signatories to the WEPs we have engaging actively in a variety of initiatives in the UAE and other GCC countries to empower women further,” said Richad Soundardjee, CEO of Societe Generale Middle East. “As a member of the civil society, our commitment is to make a difference and multiply our impact by having our peers joining us in this endeavour.”

The UN’s Principles (http://www.weprinciples.org/), present seven steps that business and other sectors can take to increase and improve the social, economic, political and legal strength of the women in the workplace, marketplace and community. To date more than 1,700 companies have joined, and more than 1,000 CEOs around the world have signed the Statement of Support for the WEPs.

French companies that signed the WEPs on March 7 in the UAE:

  • Accor Hotels
  • AirFrance KLM
  • Assystem
  • AXA Insurance
  • Cassiopee Events
  • EDF
  • Enova by Veolia
  • JCDecaux
  • Legrand
  • RATP Dev
  • Saint-Gobain
  • Sanofi
  • Schneider Electric
  • Sodexo FZE
  • Sodexo Kelvin
  • Sofrecom
  • Suez
  • Thales
  • Total
  • Vallourec
  • Veolia