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G20 remains a largely male-dominated space with very limited representation of women leaders. This year at the G20 Summit, the perspective of half the world’s population is represented by just two women leaders.

On the eve of the G20 Summit, Women Political Leaders (WPL), organised a high-level gathering of women political leaders in Rome who provided their views on Italy’s G20 priorities and suggested actionable solutions to today’s global challenges.

The WPL G20 is  co-hosted by Women Political Leaders, the European Commission, and the European Parliament in the framework of the Italian Presidency of the G20. At the WPL G20, for the first time, the latest findings from the Reykjavík Index for Leadership surveyed in all G20 countries were released. There was also a special focus on climate change.


Climate change

“Faced with the complex challenge of reaching our climate and sustainable development goals, we must empower our entire population to act, including women, girls & female leaders.” 

Ingrid Barnsley,  ENV Directorate Deputy Director, OECD


“We have to face the fact that it is governments not meeting targets. We need to tell ourselves the truth about that and name those who have failed.”

Marilou McPhedran, Member of the Senate, WPL Country Ambassador, Canada


“Climate change has killed more people than terrorism.”

Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, WPL Global Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goals 



Reykjavík Index for Leadership

At the WPL G20, for the first time, the latest findings from the Reykjavík Index for Leadership surveyed in all G20 countries were released. The Reykjavík Index for Leadership is the first measure of perceptions of women and men in terms of their suitability for leadership across more than 20 sectors in all G20 countries. The findings of this year’s Index show how stereotypes are prevailing when it comes to leadership. The G20 Summit 2021 is showing these stereotypes in political reality with only two women being G20 leaders today. 

“Reliable evidence is the root to us having a platform which allows us to push for change, we need concrete proof of what it is we’re doing.” Michelle Harrison, Global CEO, Public Division, Kantar

Latest findings

Across the board, women are more comfortable with having a woman as a Head of Government in comparison to men.

Open letter to the G20 Leaders

During the gathering, WPL released an open letter to the G20 Leaders on the urgent need to make financial aid conditional to ensure the safety and security of Afghan women political leaders. This letter has received global support from every continent from over 100 women political leaders. 

“When women were running for Parliament, people were coming and voting for us. I believe I was a more legitimate leader than the current Taliban is.” Shukria Barakzai, Member of Parliament, Afghanistan (2005 – 2021) at the WPL G20 in Rome. 

Join WPL and women political leaders from all across the world to co-sign the letter. 

You can read the open letter here

Sign Open Letter


Media Mentions


The list of attendees included:

  • Antonio Parenti, Head of the European Commission, Representation in Italy;
  • Arancha González, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (2020 – 2021), Government of Spain;
  • Assita Kanko, Member of the European Parliament;
  • Bogolo J. Kenewendo, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Botswana (2018-2020); Member, National Assembly of the Republic of Botswana (2016-2019); Member of the G7 Equality Advisory Council; WPL Special Envoy to G7 & G20;
  • Diah Pitaloka, Leader of the Women’s Caucus in the House, Indonesia;
  • Ingrid Barnsley, Deputy Director, OECD Environment Directorate, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development;
  • Irene Tinagli, Member of the European Parliament; Chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs;
  • Irine Yusiana Roba Putri, Member of the House of Representatives, WPL Country Ambassador, Indonesia;
  • Katja Iversen, Executive Adviser, UN Food Champion Former President,CEO Women Deliver (2014-2020);
  • Linda Lanzillotta, WPL Global Ambassador for Good Governance; Vice-President of the Senate of Italy (2013-2018);
  • Marilou McPhedran, Member of the Senate, WPL Country Ambassador, Canada;
  • Michelle Harrison, Global CEO, Public Division, Kantar;
  • Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, Member of Parliament, House of Representatives, Indonesia (2004-2019); President, Geneva Council for International Affairs & Development; Member, WPL Board, WPL Global Ambassador for SDGs;
  • Verónica Delgadillo García, WPL Country Ambassador, Mexico.