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