The President took part in a high level meeting on Women in Power at the invitation of María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the United Nations General Assembly. The event aims to attract attention to major obstacles for women’s participation in politics and business, promote women’s leadership and share experiences on women’s empowerment.
The event hosted by President of the UN General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés was attended by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović of Croatia, President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia, the presidents of Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago, the prime minister of Iceland, the vice president of Columbia, the vice president of Panama, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, ministers, and other high ranking officials.
Issues of gender equality, women’s empowerment and inclusion into decision-making in politics, economic and social life are still globally relevant and the progress achieved over a decade is slowing down. If the current situation continues, the goals set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure equal leadership opportunities and women’s participation in decision-making will not be achieved.
Currently, there are only ten women presidents and women account for only 24 percent of parliament members in the world. Globally, women are paid 37 percent less for the same job. Experts suggest that it would take 202 years to close this gap.
The President believes that it does not only violate women’s rights and freedoms, but also has consequences on global economy. According to various estimations, global economy could grow by at least 30 trillion US dollars if gender discrimination were eliminated. Therefore, the President said, we should foster an environment where equal opportunities are not limited by systematic barriers and unsubstantiated stereotypes.
The President also attended the Council of Women World Leaders meeting where she handed over the leadership to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović of Croatia. In order to ensure smooth work of the organization, the change of the chair was scheduled before President Grybauskaitė’s end of term in office.
The Council of Women World Leaders is a unique network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers. The aim of the Council is to promote gender equality, women’s leadership and participation in public life. The President led the organization as of 2014. Ten women presidents and twelve prime ministers joined the organization during Dalia Grybauskaitė’s leadership. Currently the organization unites 74 women leaders.
Since 2014, the President initiated several high level debates on political and economic empowerment of women and fight against violence. At the President’s initiative, a global political leaders’ forum was organized in Vilnius last year, which attracted over 400 participants. It marked the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in Lithuania.