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 around the world have contributed with far-reaching and challenging statements. They 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, President of the European Commission (2004-2014), Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, and Member of the 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 far-reaching and challenging statements on the advancement of women into positions of political leadership. They share the belief that equality between men and women in politics is vital.

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.

We need more women as political leaders because it matters – not only for democracy, society and the economy, but also for the individual lives of each of us. We men need to make this our matter and say loud and clear that we do not want politics that provide fewer opportunities for one half of the population. On the contrary, we want politics that recognise that we need more women in parliaments and as political leaders simply because it is the right, good and wise thing to do. In 2017, it just is not acceptable that politics around the world are still in many ways dominated by men. I am proud to be the Prime Minister of a country that has come far in advancing gender equality. It is my ambition to lead Iceland to continue being a country where it’s as likely for a girl as it is for a boy to be Prime Minister when grown up.

Bjarni Benediktsson, Prime Minister of 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 Durão Barroso, Chairman of Goldman Sachs International WPL Global Advisory Board Member, President of the European Commission (2004-2014) and Prime Minister of Portugal (2002-2004)

Mohammad Ashraf Ghani

President, Afghanistan

Edi Rama

Prime Minister, Albania

José Eduardo dos Santos

President, Angola (1979-2017)

Mauricio Macri

President, Argentina (2015-2019)

Malcolm Turnbull

Prime Minister, Australia (2015-2018)

Werner Faymann

Federal Chancellor, Austria (2008 - 2016)

Heinz Fischer

President, Austria (2004-2016)

Ilham Aliyev

President, Republic of Azerbaijan

Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa (1935-2020)

Prime Minister, Bahrain (1970-2020)

Abdul Hamid

President, Bangladesh

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)

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

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

Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister, Malta (2013-2020)

Ángel Gurría

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

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, European Commission (2004-2014), Prime Minister, 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

Robert Fico

President (2006-2010; 2012-2018), Slovakia

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

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​