President Dalia Grybauskaitė took part in a debate initiated by the influential US daily The New York Times on women’s leadership.
The plenary session – addressed by Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile, Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, world famous conductor Marin Alsop as well as female managers of global companies – highlighted that, despite scientific and technological progress and improving social standards, the role of women is receding in both politics and business.
According to the President, although global statistics regarding leadership of women shows pessimistic trends, change however depends on women themselves – the possibility to transform this pessimism into optimism is in their hands.
There are plenty of examples across Europe when women assume responsibility and leadership during the toughest crises. The UK Prime Minister Theresa May who has to deal with the hurdles of Brexit is a perfect example. President Dalia Grybauskaitė herself stepped into office during the economic downturn. Women tend to listen to all sides, they are more sincere and highly result-oriented and they often do not expect any rewards for what they do.
According to the President, women’s leadership and their active engagement in the labor market is the foundation of national and public welfare. Women’s participation in the labor market around the world is lower by 27 percent than that of men. With a reduction in this difference down to 25 percent, the global GDP would go up by almost 4 percent.
The President underlined that women must be encouraged to take an active part in all walks of life. Governments must ensure adequate conditions: promote better child care, fight old stereotypes, motivate women with inspiring examples and let them believe in their capabilities, so that women would not have to choose between career and family.
According to the President, as isolating trends and radicalism grow stronger around the globe, attitudes based on patriarchal stereotypes towards women and their active role are becoming more and more widespread.