President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia GrybauskaitÄ—
Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders

Areas of Focus

In 1995 the governments of 189 states adopted the Beijing Declaration that has become a defining global framework for advancing gender equality and empowering women. More than fifteen years ago the United Nations Security Council recognized the pivotal role of women in conflict prevention, management and reconciliation efforts by adopting Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

Since then concerted efforts of global civil society and governments have improved women’s access to healthcare, education and decision-making positions. However, many key areas of these landmark commitments remain unfulfilled. As the global community takes stock of the progress achieved, it is equally important to identify the areas where progress is lacking.

The Council of Women World Leaders aims to contribute to the global debate by focusing on three key thematic areas:

Women’s Political Leadership

In 1995 women represented 11% of all parliamentarians globally. More than twenty years later, one in five parliamentarians around the world is female. Although the number of women in political offices is increasing, only 24 UN member states are led by female heads of state or government.Unequal access to the highest levels of the decision-making process weakens national democratic institutions and impedes global efforts to tackle security, economic and environmental challenges. The Council of Women World leaders seeks to encourage women to take their rightful place at all levels of politics, which is crucial to building strong, vibrant societies and strengthening democratic governance. 

Women’s Economic Empowerment

The global financial crisis has clearly demonstrated the urgency of closing the worldwide economic gender gap. Underemployment, underpayment and underrepresentation of women in local and global economies as well as top managerial and executive business positions results in continuous waste of human talent and has an adverse effect on poverty eradication and development efforts. As the global community embarks on the ambitious post-2015 sustainable development agenda, the Council of Women World Leaders aims to emphasize the importance of equal economic opportunities for men and women that must remain at the center of global development efforts.

Women and Security

While women often disproportionally suffer the consequences of armed conflicts, they also make essential contributions to achieving and maintaining international peace and security. Expanding the role of women in decision-making regarding the prevention and resolution of armed conflicts is key to more effective mediation, reconstruction and reconciliation efforts and to ensuring a sustainable peace. The Council of Women World Leaders stresses the importance of implementing UN Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security and promotes women’s leadership in conflict prevention, resolution and anti-terrorism efforts.