2020: Disrupt stagnant perceptions and advance women’s leadership

Wednesday, December 23, 2020
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In September 2020, guided by findings of the 2020 Reykjavík Index for Leadership, an extraordinary panel of high-level speakers was assembled by WPL and W20, the official G20 engagement group. With equal representation by men and women, the panel addressed ways to disrupt stagnant perceptions and to advance women’s leadership through cultural, legislative, and policy intervention. Participants included Gabriela Cuevas Barron (President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Deputy of Mexico), José Manuel Barroso (Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, WPL Global Advisory Board Member, President of the European Commission, 2004-2014, and Prime Minister of Portugal, 2002-2004), and Yoko Kamikawa (Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, Chairperson of the HQ for Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens, Japanese Minister of Justice, 2017-2018, and WPL Ambassador).

Also in September, WPL helped bring the experience of leaders to discussion tables to mark the opening of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly. At the SDG Action Zone – which takes place each year during the General Assembly to compel full achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals – WPL raised the voices of women leaders and opened crucial talks on how to accelerate the drive toward equality between women and men, as well as how to build stronger, more equitable societies.

A session entitled “21st-century Strategy: More Women is Good for Business”, co-hosted with Arizona State University for the Concordia Annual Summit 2020, highlighted the solutions of women leaders for advancing inclusion and representation in government. “The Power of Parity for a Healthy Society” witnessed a remarkable conversation between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia, 2006-2017) and Emma Theofelus (Namibian Deputy Minister for Information & Technology and Member of Parliament). The WPL session “The Future of Leadership: When Women Lead” challenged leaders and the global community at large to face facts: the data and empirical evidence from the Reykjavík Index for Leadership clearly demonstrate women’s concrete contributions, in addition to many obstacles that remain. Among the panelists: Oby Ezekwesili (Senior Economic Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative, Co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls Movement, and Nigerian presidential candidate in 2019); Atsushi Sunami (President of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation); Michelle Harrison (Global CEO, Public Division, Kantar); and Elena Candon (Delegate representing #Girl2Leader).