President Dalia Grybauskaitė, who chairs the Council of Women World Leaders, held a high-level event on economic growth through women’s empowerment at the United Nations General Assembly.
Taking part were UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Maltese President Marie-Louise Coleiro, Prime Ministers of Norway and Bangladesh, President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
The high-level panel, initiated by President Dalia Grybauskaitė, focused on how to repeal discriminatory laws, encourage women to start business and seek careers in well-paid advanced scientific and technological sectors in order to promote their more active role in global economy and development.
Even though women in Lithuania can engage in any kind of economic activity, run their own business and get promoted to leading positions in public and private sectors, nine out of ten world countries have laws that constrain opportunities for women. The pay gap between men and women in Lithuania stands at 14.4 percent and is lower than the EU average. However, globally women get 23 percent less than men doing the same job and spend twice as much time as men on unpaid work.
According to the President, the prevailing situation not only violates women’s rights, but also has a huge negative impact on the world economy. Fixing gender inequality would lead to 28 trillion dollars in global growth over the next seven years. But at the current speed, it will take around 200 years to reach economic gender parity.
Dalia Grybauskaitė pointed out that upgrading education and countering stereotypes would make things move forward faster. She underlined that world leaders had the responsibility to eliminate laws that discriminate women in their respective countries and urged the United Nations to help different regions to fight discrimination and overcome fixed gender stereotypes.
At the high-level event, five female entrepreneurs were awarded for their inspiring contribution to gender equality and Sustainable Development Goals.
It is the fourth high-level event held on the President’s initiative at the United Nations in the last four years – all of them targeted at bringing women world leaders together to protect women’s rights and promote their economic and political engagement. At the President’s initiative, the Women Political Leaders Global Forum was held in Vilnius this past June, which gathered over 300 female leaders from 90 countries. Women’s rights and gender equality are included in the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Lithuania - together with other UN member states - is firmly committed to its agenda.