WPL Annual Global Summit – Iceland 2017

The WPL Annual Global Summit 2017 was hosted,  in cooperation with the Althingi – Iceland’s Parliament – and the Government of Iceland, in Reykjavík (Iceland) on 28-30 November.

This high-level conference was a unique gathering of women political leaders as it brought together at least 400 female political leaders from all over the world. Past WPL Annual Global Summits have each attracted several hundred female Parliamentarians and other senior politicians to Amman (Jordan)  Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Mexico City (Mexico), Kigali (Rwanda) and the European Parliament (Brussels).

The Twitter hashtag for this event: #WPLsummit.

A collection of Twitter moments is available here.

More info:

The event took place in collaboration with the Council of Women World Leaders (CWWL), whose Chair, President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania, convened CWWL’s network of women Prime Ministers and Presidents.

The WPL Annual Global Summit 2017 was organised by the following WPL communities: Women in Parliaments (WIP), Women Government Leaders (WGL) and Women Mayors International (WMI).

Iceland, the global champion of gender equality

Iceland is the global champion of equality between women and men. The WPL Annual Global Summit 2017 – titled, “We Can Do It!”  – applauded the political action of Iceland, which demonstrates that gender equality does not have to remain a theory, but can become reality. In this spirit, the WPL Annual Global Summit provides the forum for exchange on best practices around the globe: leadership, legislation and political agenda-setting that creates results.

For eight years, Iceland has been number 1 in the World Economic Forum’s gender-gap index, which examines disparities between men and women in terms of political empowerment, economic opportunity, education and health. Find out more here.

The Summit provided a forum for exchange on political best practices and experiences, leading to impact on legislation and political agenda-setting.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, first woman President

The Summit took place under the special aegis of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, who was among the distinguished participants.

Icelanders made Vigdís Finnbogadóttir the world’s first democratically elected woman President in 1980. Finnbogadóttir, who served longer as president than any woman from any country, also founded the Council of Women World Leaders (CWWL) twenty years ago.


  • Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, President of Iceland (1980-1996)*
  • Arancha Gonzalez, Chief Executive of the International Trade Centre
  • Atifete Jahjaga, President of Kosovo (2011-2015)*
  • Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator (1993-2017)
  • Beatriz Merino Lucero, Prime Minister of Peru (2003)*
  • Belén Garijo, Executive Board at Merck Group
  • Bjarni Benediktsson, Prime Minister of Iceland
  • Dalia Grybauskaite, President of Lithuania and Chair of CWWL*
  • Dato’ Noraini Ahmad, Chairperson of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP)
  • Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil (2011-2016)*
  • Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland
  • Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008)*
  • Iveta Radicova, Prime Minister of Slovakia (2010-2012)*
  • Jennifer Smith, Prime Minister of Bermuda (1998-2003)*
  • José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission (2004–2014)
  • Joyce Banda, President of Malawi (2012-2014)*
  • Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union
  • Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia*
  • Kim Campbell, Prime Minister of Canada (1993)*
  • Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of Croatia*
  • Laura Liswood, Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders (UN Foundation)
  • Luísa Dias Diogo, Prime Minister of Mozambique (2004-2010)*
  • Mari Kiviniemi, Prime Minister of Finland (2010-2011) and Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD*
  • Maria Liberia Peters, Prime Minister of Netherlands Antilles (1984-1986, 1988-1994)*
  • Maria Lohela, Speaker of the Finnish Parliament
  • Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta*
  • Paula Cox, Prime Minister of Bermuda (2010-2012)*
  • Rebeca Grynspan, Head of the Ibero-American Secretariat
  • Rose Gottemoeller, Deputy Secretary General of NATO
  •  Saadia Zahidi, Head of Education, Gender and Work, Member of Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum
  • Tansu Çiller, Prime Minister of Turkey (1993-1996)*
  • Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir, Speaker of Althingi, the Parliament of Icelnad
  • Uschi Schreiber, EY’s Global Vice Chair
  • Victoria Budson, Founding Executive Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University
  • Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport
  • Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome
  • Viviane Reding, Member of the European Parliament and European Commissioner (1999-2014)
  • Wolfgang Ischinger, President of the Munich Security Forum
  • Zainab Bangura, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict


*Member of the Council of Women World Leaders (CWWL)


Countries represented at the WPL Annual Global Summit 2017 in Iceland as of 2/7/17


WPL Founder and President Silvana Koch-Mehrin and Iceland’s Parliamentary Speaker (President of the Parliament) Unnur Bra Konradsdottir, said in a joint statement, “Iceland is the global champion of gender equality and home of the first elected woman President. By welcoming female Parliamentarians, Ministers, Prime Ministers and Presidents from all parts of the world, it underlines the importance it attributes to more women in political leadership.”

Silvana Koch-Mehrin added, “WPL is delighted by Iceland’s hospitality and political support for the Summit. I am convinced that the Summit will provide a unique opportunity to showcase the Icelandic way to gender equality, as well as providing a forum for exchange on political best practice and experience, leading to impact on legislation and political agenda setting.”

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of Lithuania and current chair of the CWWL, said, “We are pleased to partner on the WPL Global Summit in Iceland, a country which is a global leader in advancing women’s rights and gender equality. With her personal example, President Finnbogadottir continues to inspire women around the globe to take the responsibility of leadership and strive for their goals.”