Leadership Campaign


The Leadership Campaign aims to highlight the commitment of male Presidents and Prime Ministers around the world to increase the number of women in politics.

Parity between women and men in politics mirrors our societies. Greater balance in political representation is essential to inclusiveness. For this to happen, men are as much part of that important change, as women.

Male Heads of State and Government, Presidents, and Prime Ministers from United Nations Member States gave their personal testimony by completing the sentence “We need more women as political leaders because…”

The campaign has been exhibited at the UN Headquarters in New York, the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, the OECD Headquarters in Paris, and many national Parliaments as well as the European Parliament.

Women Political Leaders (WPL) acknowledges the important role of José Manuel Barroso, Chair, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Chairman, Goldman Sachs International; President of the European Commission (2004-2014); Prime Minister of Portugal (2002-2004), Member, WPL Global Advisory Board, in assembling these important testimonials

The mission of WPL is to increase the number and influence of women in politics, and men – in particular, male politicians in positions of influence – are as much a part of that important change for the better, as women.

Male Presidents and Prime Ministers from around the world have contributed statements on the advancement of women into positions of political leadership.

WPL works with Parliaments, Governments and other partners to advocate political action to increase the number and influence of women in politics.

Women Political Leaders support the UN Women HeForShe campaign.

Disclaimer: Women Political Leaders (WPL) has invited all male Heads of State and Government of states listed as official Member states of the United Nations to contribute to the WPL Leadership Campaign. This exhibition includes the statements received as of 01/07/2021.

We need more women in Parliaments and as political leaders because, simply, it is the way things should and must be. I am honoured to be the President of a country that values gender equality as one of its main foundations. In Iceland, women and men work hand in hand to make sure that girls and boys have equal opportunities in all walks of life. True, there is still work to do, and we men must not leave this important matter only to women. We must speak and act in such a way, that it is clear that we truly want a world of gender equality. I am proud to do so; not only as President, but also as a father, husband, son, and a supporter of women in politics and political leadership.

Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President, Iceland

During my term as President of the European Commission and Prime Minister of Portugal, I have put great emphasis on gender equality in politics. Firstly, it is an issue of democratic representation. It is simply not fair that more than half of our citizens are not adequately represented within our institutions. Secondly, we must stand for diversity. Women bring new perspectives and experiences to politics. This is why, in my capacity as a Member of the Women in Parliaments Global Forum Advisory Board, I invited all male Heads of State and Government around the world to contribute a testimonial, stating the importance they personally assign to this important element of democracy. I am delighted to see that so many of the leading men in politics have contributed to this remarkable compilation of statements.

José Manuel Barroso, Chairman, Goldman Sachs International; Chairman, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; WPL Global Advisory Board Member; President of the European Commission (2004-2014); Prime Minister of Portugal (2002-2004)

Mohammad Ashraf Ghani

President, Afghanistan

Edi Rama

Prime Minister, Albania

Mauricio Macri

President, Argentina (2015-2019)

Malcolm Turnbull

Prime Minister, Australia (2015-2018)

Alexander Van der Bellen

President, Austria

Werner Faymann

Federal Chancellor, Austria (2008 - 2016)

Heinz Fischer

President, Austria (2004-2016)

Ilham Aliyev

President, Republic of Azerbaijan

Abdul Hamid

President, Bangladesh

Alexander De Croo

Prime Minister, Belgium

Charles Michel

Prime Minister, Belgium (2014-2019), President of the European Council

Guy Verhofstadt

Prime Minister, Belgium (1999-2008)

Denis Zvizdić

Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2015-2019)

Roberto Azevêdo

Director-General of the World Trade Organization (2013-2020)

Paul Biya

President, Cameroon

Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister, Canada

Sebastián Piñera

President, Chile

Manuel Santos

President, Colombia (2010-2018)

Luis Guillermo Solís

President, Costa Rica (2014-2018)

Bohuslav Sobotka

Prime Minister, Czech Republic (2014-2017)

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Director General at the World Health Organization (WHO)

Hailemariam Desalegn

Prime Minister, Ethiopia (2012-2018)

Juha Sipilä

Prime Minister, Finland (2015-2019)

Sauli Niinistö

President - Finland

Alexander Stubb

Prime Minister, Finland (2014-2015)

Jyrki Katainen

Prime Minister, Finland (2011-2014)

Emmanuel Macron

President of the French Republic (2017-current)

Ali Bongo Ondimba

President, Gabon

Giorgi Margvelashvili

President, Georgia (2013-2018)

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson

Prime Minister, Iceland (2013-2016)

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

President, Iceland (1996-2016)

Guðni Th. Jóhannesson

President, Iceland

Bjarni Benediktsson

Prime Minister (2017), Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Iceland

Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson

Prime Minister (2016-2017), Minister of Transport and Local Affairs, Iceland

Micheál Martin

Prime Minister, Ireland

Enda Kenny

Taoiseach, Ireland (2011-2017)

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister, Israel

Sergio Mattarella

President, Italy

Takehiko Nakao

President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) (2013-2020)

†Shinzō Abe

Prime Minister, Japan (2012-2020)

Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein

King, Jordan

Nursultan Nazarbayev

President, Kazakhstan (1990-2019)

Karim Massimov

Prime Minister, Kazakhstan (2007-2012) (2014-2016)

Valdis Dombrovskis

Vice-President of the European Commission / Prime Minister of Latvia (2009-2014)

Saulius Skvernelis

Prime Minister, Lithuania (2016-2020)

Jean-Claude Juncker

President of the European Commission (2014-2019), Prime Minister, Luxembourg (1995-2013)

Xavier Bettel

Prime Minister, Luxembourg

Gjorge Ivanov

President, North Macedonia (2009-2019)

Arthur Peter Mutharika

President (2014-2020), Republic of Malawi

George Vella

President of the Republic of Malta

Robert Abela

Prime Minister, Malta

Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister, Malta (2013-2020)

Ángel Gurría

Secretary-General of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2006-2021)

Enrique Peña Nieto

President, Mexico (2012-2018)

Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj

President, Mongolia (2009-2017)

Milo Đukanović

Prime Minister (2012-2016), President, Montenegro

U Thein Sein

President, Myanmar (2011-2016)

Mark Rutte

Prime Minister, Netherlands

John Key

Prime Minister, New Zealand (2008-2016)

Mahamadou Issoufou

President, Niger

Peter O’Neill

Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea (2011-2019)

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski

President (2016-2018), Prime Minister (2005-2006), Peru

Benigno Aquino III

President, Philippines (2010-2016)

Donald Tusk

President of the European Council, Prime Minister, Poland (2007-2014)

Andrzej Duda

President, Poland

António Guterres

Secretary-General of the United Nations

José Manuel Barroso

President of the European Commission (2004-2014); Prime Minister of Portugal (2002-2004)

Aníbal Cavaco Silva

President, Portugal (2006-2016)

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

President, Portugal

Klaus Iohannis

President, Romania

Paul Kagame

President, Rwanda

Macky Sall

President, Senegal

Mikuláš Dzurinda

Prime Minister of Slovakia (1998-2006)

Robert Fico

Prime Minister (2006-2010; 2012-2018), Slovakia

Janez Janša

Prime Minister, Republic of Slovenia

Cyril Ramaphosa

President, South Africa

Moon Jae-in

President, South Korea

Hwang Kyo-Ahn

Prime Minister (2015-2017) President (2017), South Korea

Mariano Rajoy

Prime Minister, Spain (2011-2018)

Pedro Sánchez

Prime Minister, Spain

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime minister (1993-1994; 2001-2004; 2015-2019) Sri Lanka

Stefan Löfven

Prime Minister, Sweden

Prayut Chan-o-cha

Prime Minister, Thailand

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

President, Turkey

Petro Poroshenko

President, Ukraine (2014-2019)

Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Prime Minister (2014-2016), Ukraine

Boris Johnson

Prime Minister, United Kingdom

Guy Ryder

Director-General of the International Labour Organization

David Cameron

Prime Minister (2010-2016), United Kingdom

Gordon Brown

United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Prime Minister (2007-2010), United Kingdom​