Women’s leadership in the face of global challenges

Women Heads of State and Government meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Tuesday underscored how the full and effective participation and decision-making of women is essential to meet to global priorities.

The new UNGA platform of women leaders organized an event where they discussed global issues under the theme of Transformative Solutions by Women Leaders to Today’s Interrelated Challenges.

In attendance were President Katalin Novák of Hungary, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland, Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa of Samoa, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja of Uganda, Prime Minister Evelyn Wever- Croes of Aruba and Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs of St. Maarten, as well as former Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand.

Make a “positive difference”

Recent global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate emergency and conflict, have shown the positive difference that women’s leadership and decision-making can make in leadership positions, parliaments and government. public administration.

For example, data from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UN Women show that governments with greater representation of women in parliaments have adopted more gender-sensitive policy measures in response to the pandemic, including policies aimed directly at enhancing women’s economic security. .

Tuesday’s event was organized by the Office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly and UN Women, in cooperation with the Council of Women Global Leaders (CWWL).

Transformative Leadership

In his remarks at the rally, General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi pleaded for more women in government.

“Women’s leadership is transformative. The women leaders with us today are living proof of that,” he said.

“Inclusive governance can lead to policies that create positive change long-term. By integrating the perspectives of diverse women – especially at the highest levels – governments can tailor and effectively target solutions to those who need them most.

Long way to go

Of the 193 member countries of the UN, only 28 women are elected heads of state or government.

There is also a long way to go when it comes to the proportion of women at other levels of political office.

Globally, women make up 21% of world ministers, 26% of national parliamentarians and 34% of elected seats in local governments.

A new UN report has further revealed that at the current rate of progress, equal parliamentary representation will only be reached in 2062.

Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women, sees an important role for the newly created leadership platform.

“When more women lead political and public life, everyone benefitsespecially in a crisis,” she said.

“A new generation of girls sees a possible future for themselves. Health, education, childcare and violence against women are receiving greater attention and better solutions. We must find every possible way to amplify the assets that women leaders bring. This platform is an opportunity to do just that.

“We must act now”

The UNGA Global Platform for Women Leaders emerged from a September 2021 meeting between female Heads of State and Government and Abdulla Shahid, who was then President of the General Assembly.

Mr. Shahid stressed the significance of Tuesday’s event, given the statistics.

“At the present rate of our progress, it could take 300 years to achieve gender equality,” he said. “We must act now. Accelerate investment in girls and women. Intensify efforts to empower women. Expand opportunities for girls. End gender-based violence.

More women, more diversity

The UNGA Women Leaders Platform will also help bring visibility to women in top political leadership positions, according to the organizers of the event.

The critical role of women’s leadership in driving sustainable development is well documented, they added.

Countries with more female political leaders tend to pay more attention to issues such as health, education, infrastructure, and ending violence against women.

In response to the pandemic, women leaders have championed policies that address its social and economic impacts on the most vulnerable groups.

Representation Matters

Data also shows that in conflict-affected contexts, the representation of women in public life enhances the credibility of peace processes and negotiations, helping to unite divided communities.

In addition, research has also shown that seeing more women in power increases girls’ educational and career aspirations.

“It is my firm belief that the world needs more women leaders and more diverse leaderspeople with all kinds of backgrounds and life experiences,” said Ms. Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland and President of the CWWL.

“The decisions that leaders make affect everyone in our societies. These decisions should be made by people who have a real and deep understanding of how most people live, their concerns, and are therefore sensitive to their needs.

Mara R. Wilmoth