International Women’s Day 2021: A celebration and a call-to-action

Thursday, February 25, 2021
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This year’s theme for the International Women’s Day 2021 is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” In alignment with the Generation Equality campaign, the theme commemorates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from a global crisis. 

The perspectives of women and girls in all of their diversity is essential for informed and successful policymaking to shape sustainable pathways for societies to “build back better.” As one of the global leaders of the Generation Equality Coalition on Feminist movements and leadership, WPL is committed to fostering global conversations that will mobilise the collective action of its network of leaders.  

Women have stood at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, organisers, and as effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. Female ministers and Parliamentarians have been in the driving seat for cooperative response to a global crisis. The crisis has highlighted the disproportionate burdens many women carry, as well as emphasised the importance of their contributions and leadership.

To celebrate this day, and recognise the accomplishments of women leaders beyond International Women’s Day, WPL is engaging female Parliamentarians to share their lessons and experiences in leadership. Their contributions will help author the Reykjavík Manual, providing concrete solutions for leaders to build a more equitable and sustainable society.  The initiative is aimed at showing the world the importance of female leaders in the decision making process, emphasising their work towards equality, women-men parity, well-being, social justice, security, sustainability, and economic empowerment. 

Now it is more important than ever to showcase women leadership and share solutions that work better for all. Imperative to the success of collective action is the role of evidence. Driving the progress for gender equality, the Reykjavík Index for Leadership will extend the discussion for leaders to share tangible ways to speed up the journey to equality. 

As the world grapples with the devastating impacts of COVID-19, the annual Reykjavík Index for Leadership finds that society has not become more progressive in how it views women in leadership. Acting on this evidence, WPL and Kantar will be hosting an online conversation to raise awareness about the absence of progress and support the journey to equality between men and women. The webinar will focus on the prejudice indicated by younger people in the G7 from the Reykjavik Index, providing a discussion on how to build a future without gender-based bias.

Perceptions lead to further prejudice in the opportunities offered to both boys and girls, impacting career paths and disrupting the chance for policymaking to reflect the societies it is meant to serve. As a part of the initiative to understand the perceptions of men and women, WPL will be reaching out to young Icelanders to share their opinions on what it means to be a leader and the importance of gender-parity in positions of power. 

This month and beyond, WPL is committed to accelerating the progress toward achieving equal status and opportunities for women globally, and will continue to strive in all its activities to demonstrate the impact of women in political leadership. 

Honouring this commitment on International Women’s Day, WPL invites all women Parliamentarians to send a short video, sharing a concrete action that has contributed to the progress and implementation of one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their community. These contributions will be part of the Reykjavík Manual.