A rather sad world record

Thursday, December 3, 2020
Wpl Newsletter Heads Of State

The family picture of G20 leaders has been recently circulated worldwide. The reality is stark: one must look very closely to find the  women in this group. And this problem is by no means exclusive to the G20. Consider any similar high-profile assembly summits of the African Union, APEC, the European Union, the OECD, the United Nations General Assembly, to name just a few: time and time again, participants are almost exclusively men.   

The Reykjavík Global Forum 2020 achieved a world record with 26 women Heads of State or Government, both incumbent and former, joining.

But this is a rather  sad record.  How is it possible that almost 50% of all living women Presidents and Prime Ministers can be gathered at a single conference? 

Despite strides made across recent decades, the number of women in high political office remains scandalously low. Currently, 93% of all countries worldwide have a male Head of State, and only around 25% of members of national legislatures are women. 

In keeping with the Forum’s guiding motto, Power, Together, these inspiring Heads of State shared their perspectives and ideas for a more inclusive era of governance based on collaboration and cooperation rather than conflict, and on consensus-building rather than individual will. At the Forum 2020, we celebrated a landmark assembly of trailblazing leaders. This is not a record but a starting point on which to build to improve  the road to equality between women and men. 

  1. Kersti Kaljulaid, President, Estonia (2016 – present)
  2. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, First Female President, Namibia (2015 – present)
  3. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway (2013-present)
  4. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister, Iceland (2017 – present)
  5. Varia Vike-Freiberga, President, Latvia (1999-2007)
  6. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President, Lithuania (2009-2019)
  7. Julia Gillard, Prime Minister, Australia (2010-2013)
  8. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President, Mauritius (2015-2018)
  9. Kolinda Grabar-Kotarovic, President, Croatia (2015-2020) 
  10. Michelle Bachelet, President, Chile (2006-2010, 2014-2018)
  11. Atifete Jahjaga, President, Kosovo (2011-2016)
  12. Helen Clark, Prime Minister, New Zealand (1999-2008)
  13. Mari Kiviniemi, Prime Minister, Finland (2010-2011)
  14. Mary Robinson, President, Ireland (1990-1997)
  15. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President, Malta (2014-2019)
  16. Maria Das Neves Ceita Batista De Sousa, Prime Minister, São Tomé and Príncipe (2002-2004)
  17. Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louise, Prime Minister, Haiti (2008-2009)
  18. Rosalía Arteaga Serrano, First Female President, Ecuador (1997) 
  19. Chandrika Kumaratunga, President, Sri Lanka (1994-2005)
  20. Laura Chinchilla Miranda, President, Costa Rica (2010-2014)
  21. Maria de Carmo Silveira, Prime Minister, São Tomé and Príncipe (2005-2006)
  22. Paula Ann Cox, Premier, Bermuda (2010-2012)
  23. Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva, President, Kyrgyzstan (2010-2011)
  24. Joyce Banda, President, Malawi (2012-2014)
  25. Aminata Tourė, Prime Minister, Senegal (2013-2014)
  26. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, First Female President, Iceland (1980-1996)
  27. Taja Halonen, President, Finland (2000-2012)