What does it mean to be a leader in the time of the coronavirus? It means making difficult decisions that place the wellbeing of the global community before economic, social and political gain. The COVID-19 pandemic demands a reassessment of how, and why, we do the work that is important to us.
Empathetic, courageous and mindful leadership has always been an essential element of WPL’s modus operandi. This has not changed as a result of the twenty-first century’s most serious public health pandemic. WPL is, however, reexamining its priorities so that it can continue to meaningfully engage with women political leaders worldwide, while integrating life-saving medical advice into its plans.
This is why WPL has chosen to postpone the Women Political Leaders Summit 2020 at the Headquarters of the United Nations on 11-12 June.
The groundbreaking gathering would have sent a clear message to the world: that women politicians are paramount to advancing society. Hosted in the General Assembly Hall, this summit would have highlighted the importance of mobilising women politicians in order to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the Decade of Action.
WPL remains incredibly honoured by the decision of the President of the 74th Session of the General Assembly to Co-Host the Women Political Leaders Summit 2020 at the Headquarters and will work towards creating a transformative event in the future, says Silvana Koch-Mehrin, President and Founder of WPL.
WPL is also committed to working with its UN partners and co-hosts to identify a future date for the Women Political Leaders Summit at the UN Headquarters.
And while the physical summit will have to wait, the message that it was meant to advocate cannot.
2020 is a year that marks countless transformative anniversaries for gender equality and global development: the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the 20th anniversary of the UNSC Resolution 1325, the 10th anniversary of the formation of UN Women, and the 5th anniversary of the SDGs. All of these events have been canceled or postponed, which could signify a substantial decrease in international attention, awareness, and action surrounding the achievement of equality between women and men.
WPL is determined to not let this be the case. Advancing women leaders in society is a mission that cannot wait. In fact, this task is now more essential than ever because women face disproportionate economic, health and social risks as a result of the pandemic. Should the global community wish to avoid placing an enormous burden on women’s shoulders and hindering the progress that gender equality has made, then it must act swiftly and decisively.
In this new context, WPL is developing innovative virtual initiatives, studies, partnerships and calls to action that continue moving increased female leadership, and its myriad benefits, into the spotlight. It is also dedicating more attention, resources and power to the Reykjavik Global Forum – Women Leaders.
This Forum is set to take place on 9-11 November and will be co-hosted by WPL and the Government and Parliament of Iceland. As a result of its timing, not only in relation to current advice and awareness surrounding COVID-19, but also in a year of extraordinary anniversaries for gender equality and development, the Reykjavik Global Forum – Women Leaders 2020 has the potential to play a pivotal role in ensuring that 2020’s major anniversaries are not forgotten.
Not only can the Reykjavik Global Forum provide an excellent opportunity for women leaders to convene during the year’s fourth quarter and make a vital contribution to advancing society and the status of the world in 2020, but it can also lay the foundations for future transformative action led by women in the years to come.
Comments Hanna BirnaKristjánsdóttir, Chair of the Reykjavík Global Forum, Women Leaders.
In the time of coronavirus, leadership requires conscientious flexibility, but it also requires consistency and commitment to the greatest issues of our time. WPL and women political leaders around the world are taking charge during these trying times to confront unparalleled challenges with empathy, courage and understanding.
So, what does leadership look like in the time of the coronavirus? It looks unwavering, it looks insightful. For WPL it most definitely looks female.