Dalia Grybauskaitė, the President of the Republic of Lithuania and Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders.
‘This year Lithuania celebrates two centenaries: a hundred years of the Independence and a hundred years of the suffrage right for Lithuanian women. Both occasions highlight courage and determination to follow a dream and make it a reality.
Today we enjoy the benefits of those big dreams. Yet we have a responsibility to take them even further and dream bigger. IT’S ABOUT TIME. WE HAVE 100 REASONS TO ACT. It is easier to do it with those who are likeminded.
It is a big honor and joy to welcome more than two hundred women and men from all over the world in Vilnius. WPL Summit 2018 provides excellent opportunities to exchange ideas, experiences and aspirations. And Lithuania, a living proof of a dream coming true, is the perfect place for inspiration.’
Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta
‘It is an honour to extend my patronage to the #Girl2Leader Campaign, a global campaign of the Women Political Leaders Global Forum. For Malta, I’m happy to announce that it is in collaboration with the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, the Network of Young Women Leaders, and the University of Malta’s Student Council (KSU). I am pleased to announce that, on the 11th October 2017, parallel events will be held in Brussels and Malta, to welcome the #Girl2Leader campaign. These will coincide with the launch of “emPOWer”, Malta’s national platform of women’s organisations. I am confident that, through our various initiatives, we are actively working together to strengthen the voices of all girls and young women, to embrace professional opportunities in a variety of sectors, to improve their skills, and to reach their goals. I truly believe that it is only by working in synergy, combining our different capacities and abilities, that we can ensure a future of equity and equality for people of all genders. Let me encourage us all to continue to lead by example, to ensure that our girls and young women will have the necessary role models to follow, in the process of achieving their aspirations.’
Mari Kiviniemi Deputy Secretary General, OECD; Former Prime Minister of Finland (2010-2011)
If women are to have the same opportunities as men to lead in politics, more needs to be done to eectively level the playing field. As long as the glass-ceiling for women leaders continues to be a cultural issue, sound work-family reconciliation, including shared caring responsibilities with men, institutional legal measures and awareness raising and training are key policy options to enable women leaders. At the OECD, our Recommendation on Gender Equality in Public Life, Recommendation on Gender Equality in Employment, Education and Entrepreneurship and G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance are aimed at promoting inclusive policy-making and improving women’s access to leadership in public sector, as well as the private sector. Further, at the OECD we have also developed a Toolkit for mainstreaming and implementing gender equality in public life. The upcoming Women’s Political Leaders Global Forum in Reykjavik is a great opportunity for women in political positions to connect, empower each other and communicate the need for promoting greater gender equality in politics.
Kristalina Georgieva, CEO, World Bank
When I joined the World Bank in the early 1990s, women were few and far between and it was to the detriment by the institution. The World Bank President at that time, Jim Wolfensohn, once said to me, ‘Kristalina, so much work to do, and so very few women to do it.’ The World Bank Group of today looks nothing like the one I first joined. We have embraced the idea that diversity makes us better, and that has changed the way we do business and make decisions. We put into place targets to make sure that our leadership team is gender-equal, and in the World Bank, we have met that goal ahead of schedule. We need to do even more to have a strong pipeline of qualified women (and men) to step up in the future. I have come to wholeheartedly embrace the need to push for gender equality, after many decades believing that we had to be gender blind: that you are either good or not. I recognized maybe a bit late that if we leave this issue to solve itself, it would take hundreds of years for men and women to be equal. As a world, we need to do three things to enable women’s leadership: make sure that every girl, everywhere can have a quality education; empower girls and boys equally to speak up and be heard; and equalize society’s expectations and aspirations for girls and boys so that they can grow up to be anything that they want to be. The Women Leaders Global Forum provides an opportunity for women to come together and learn from each other on how to take this important agenda forward.