Women Heads of State and Government Convene in Newly Created UNGA Platform of Women Leaders at UN General Assembly

May 1, 2023 : The newly established UNGA Platform of Women Leaders held its inaugural meeting today on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly High-level Week. The event, which brought together women Heads of State and Government from around the world, was hosted by the Office of the President of the General Assembly and UN Women in collaboration with the Council of Women World Leaders (CWWL). The theme of the meeting was “Transformative solutions by women leaders to today’s interlinked challenges,” emphasizing the importance of women’s full and effective political participation in addressing global priorities inclusively and decisively.

The meeting was attended by several female Heads of State and Government, including 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, as well as former Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand, and others. The President of the 77th session of the General Assembly, Mr Csaba Kőrösi, and the Executive Director of UN Women, Ms Sima Bahous, spoke at the event.

The importance of women’s leadership and decision-making was highlighted, particularly in times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. The UNDP-UN Women COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker shows that governments with higher women’s representation in parliaments adopted more gender-sensitive policy measures in response to COVID-19. However, progress towards gender equality in politics has been slow, with only 28 women serving as elected Heads of State or Government out of 193 UN Member States. The UNGA Platform of Women Leaders aims to address this disparity and accelerate progress towards gender equality.

The meeting also emphasized the critical role of women’s leadership in driving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The decisions made by leaders affect all people in society. The voices of diverse women must be integrated at the highest government levels to tailor and effectively target solutions to those most in need. The event aimed to bring visibility to women in prominent political leadership positions and inspire girls and women worldwide to pursue leadership roles.