Maurice Sehnaoui takes Lebanon’s Women Empowerment to international levels
On March 10, 2015, Chairman General Manager of BLC Bank Maurice Sehnaoui joined UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Senator Hilary Clinton and other key stakeholders in the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Annual Event at the UN Headquarters in New York.
As a pioneer in the Lebanese Banking Sector and a major contributor to the Lebanese economy with his visionary leadership that drove the success of the WE Initiative in the development of SMEs & Women, Mr. Sehnaoui was the only personality from the MENA region invited to participate in the WEPs annual event.
As a result, BLC Bank was the only financial institution from the Middle East to take part in this forum to share the WE Initiative’s success in empowering women in the workplace and marketplace and set recommendations for the upcoming 15 years for other institutions to embrace this change and reduce the gender gap.
As the first CEO signatory from the MENA region committing to the UN WEPs, Mr. Sehnaoui discussed methods by which the private sector can contribute to achieving gender equality and sustainability in the workplace, marketplace and community. His expertise and passion for promoting gender equality contributed significantly to the discussion.
“In 2012, we had pledged our commitment to unleash the potential of women in Lebanon and the region by finding solutions to the challenges they face on a daily basis. To state some results, loans extended to women entrepreneurs have increased by 69% in the past 3 years, since the launch of WE Initiative and thanks to our Brilliant Lebanese Awards, one of the women finalists in the competition saw her business turnover increase from $35,000 to $1,000,000 in 2 years. And this is only the beginning…” said Mr. Sehnaoui.
2015 marks a decisive year for women’s empowerment as UN Member States will decide on a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will steer the development agenda for the next 15 years. With more than 850 CEO signatories worldwide, Lebanon had a distinguished participation, through Mr. Sehnaoui’s seat on the panel, in drawing the roadmap for institutions, private and public, to embrace this agenda and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and consequently, the community.
The WEPs community represents a growing cohort of international business leaders and other key stakeholders who understand that empowering women is not only the right thing to do, but is also essential to helping sustainable businesses forge ahead and to developing economies and societies. Embracing international standards, BLC Bank has taken concrete steps to nurture gender equality in their internal systems as well as their customer service.