Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening at the University of Manchester

Justine Greening led a panel discussion and consultation for the UN High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment at the University's Global Development Institute (GDI)


  1. Joining Justine Greening on the panel were Gabriella Zapata (The University of Manchester PhD researcher), Martin de la Harpe (Head of Sustainability at Flamingo Holdings) and Professor Stephanie Barrientos (The University of Manchester). GDI Executive Director Professor David Hulme moderated.
  2. Justine Greening opened the session with remarks on the state of women's involvement in economic life, which, if fully realised, would add $28 trillion (26%) to global annual GDP by 2025 (according to McKinsey).
  3. Greening noted that complex global challenges need a coalition of international institutions supported by evidence-based arguments.
  4. First panelist GDI PhD researcher Gabriela Zapata expanded on why providing equal economic opportunities to women and men is important.
  5. Second panelist Martin de la Harpe discussed the practical ways in which businesses can contribute to economic empowerment of women.
  6. The final panelist, GDI Professor Stephanie Barrientos reflected on how business can act as a lever for change. You can read up on Prof. Barrientos's research on gender, trade and global production by clicking here.
  7. The final section of the consultation invited the audience to comment with their thoughts and suggestions on how improvements in women's economic empowerment might be realised.
  8. Many in the audience agreed that men, especially young men, are a significant factor in achieving gender equality and promoting economic opportunities for women.
  9. GDI's Solava Ibrahim and Nicola Banks both warned against reflecting on economic empowerment in a vacuum. Social norms and contexts need to be taken into account.