Panafrican News Agency

New platform highlights women’s leadership in tackling global challenges

New York, US (PANA) - Women Heads of State and Government meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Tuesday have highlighted how women’s full and effective participation and decision-making are crucial to addressing global priorities. 

The newly established UNGA Platform of Women Leaders held an event where they discussed global issues under the theme of  Transformative Solutions by Women Leaders to Today’s Interlinked Challenges

A UN statement said in attendance were President Katalin Novák of Hungary, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland, Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa of Samoa, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja of Uganda, Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes of Aruba, and Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs of St. Maarten, as well as former Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand. 

Recent global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency and conflicts, have shown the positive difference women’s leadership and decision-making can make in executive positions, parliaments, and public administration.  

For example, the statement said, data from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women, shows that governments with higher women’s representation in parliaments adopted a higher number of gender-sensitive policy measures in response to the pandemic, including policies aimed directly at strengthening women’s economic security. 

Tuesday’s event was hosted by the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly and UN Women, in cooperation with the Council of Women World Leaders (CWWL). 

In his remarks to the gathering, General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi made the case for having more women in government. 

“Women’s leadership is transformative. The women leaders with us today are living proof of this fact,” he said. 

“Inclusive governance can result in policies that create positive change  over the long term. By integrating the views of diverse women – especially at the highest levels – governments can effectively tailor and target solutions to those most in need.” 

Out of the 193 countries that are UN Member States, only 28 women serve as elected Heads of State or Government.  

There also is still a long way to go when it comes to the proportion of women in other levels of political office.   

Globally, women comprise 21 per cent of the world’s ministers, 26 per cent of national parliamentarians, and 34 per cent of elected local government seats.   

A new UN report has further revealed that at the current pace of progress, equal parliamentary representation will not be achieved until 2062

Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women, sees a strong role for the newly created leadership platform. 

“When more women lead in political and public life, everyone benefits, especially in crises,” she said.

“A new generation of girls see a possible future for themselves. Health, education, childcare, and violence against women, receive greater attention and better solutions. We must find every possible way to amplify the assets women leaders bring. This Platform is an opportunity to do just that.” 

The UNGA Global Platform of Women Leaders has its genesis in a September 2021 meeting between women Heads of State and Government and Abdulla Shahid, who was President of the General Assembly at the time. 

Mr. Shahid underscored the importance of Tuesday’s event, given the statistics.  

“At our current rate of progress, it could take 300 years to achieve gender equality,” he said. “We must act now. Accelerate investment in girls and women. Scale up efforts to empower women. Expand opportunities for girls. Eliminate gender-based violence.” 

-0- PANA MA 21Sept2022