3BL: Women Are a Driving Force for the SDGs

Leading experts in sustainable development share insights on why gender equality is a key factor in economic development – including the interconnection between women entrepreneurs and inclusive growth – in the latest podcast from GRI.

A new episode of SDGs: The Rising Tide is now freely available. The podcast series that delves into business opportunities and corporate innovation in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG 5: Gender Equality

The episode features Pakistani businesswoman Danielle Sharaf, founder and CEO of Switch ITC, and Meral Guzel, Partnerships Manager for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator, a UN-led partnership. They address the importance of systemic solutions and structural changes for gender equality in the business world, while stressing that individual actions and the willingness to make a positive impact can drive the change the world wants to see.

Danielle Sharaf sets out why, from an early age, she focused on a bigger picture:

“Being born in a Catholic family in Islamic Pakistan, I know exactly how it feels to be excluded – firstly, because of being a woman, and secondly, because of a Western name. That helped me prioritize things and look at a bigger picture, a bigger purpose.”

She goes on to share her journey of setting up a business. Having started with a career counselling text messaging service, Danielle went on to launch a smartphone app for women and girls:

“In Pakistan, it is a taboo to talk about sensitive topics, such as mental or reproductive health. We wanted to change that and normalize these conversations between women. Through the app, women and girls can address their questions to doctors and openly talk about their concerns.”

Meral Guzel emphasizes the role of female entrepreneurs in promoting women’s economic empowerment and equality:

“When we talk about economic development of any given country, women entrepreneurs have a crucial role to play. They do this through employment generation, all the while boosting innovation and growth. It is also known that female entrepreneurs tend to employ more women, and this has a direct impact on all women in a given community.”

The Rising Tide can also be accessed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. GRI thanks the Government of Sweden for supporting this project through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

GRI provides a range of freely accessible resources and tools to help companies understand and report their contribution to the SDGs.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the independent, international organization that helps businesses and other organizations take responsibility for their impacts, by providing the global common language to report those impacts. The GRI Standards are developed through a multi-stakeholder process and provided as a free public good.

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