The Women Leaders Global Forum (WLGF) gathered some 400 female leaders from more than 100 countries for meetings in Reykjavik from 26 to 28 November. The event was arranged by the Women Political Leaders (WPL) network as well as the Icelandic Government and the Althing, Iceland’s parliament.
The gathering previously had been for politicians only, but female leaders from all sectors were invited this year for the first time. The plan is to make it an annual event for attendees to discuss their experiences and methods of increasing equality between men and women.
“Norway is one of the countries where gender equality has come furthest, but we still have challenges,” says Åslaug Sem-Jacobsen, a Member of the Storting, Norway’s parliament. “An example is the gender balance atop the Norwegian business community.”
She has been designated to serve as ambassador to Women in Parliament, a global organisation for female parliamentarians. In her remarks, she highlighted Norwegian women’s participation in working life as well as Norway’s Gender Equality Act and its Kindergarten Act.
“Gender equality is a key to our welfare society. It is also important to describe the economic benefits of women’s participation in the workforce and the great value it adds to countries seeking development,” says Ms Sem-Jacobsen.
Separate meeting for political leaders
As part of the forum, a separate meeting was held for women politicians. Members of parliaments and ministers discussed issues important to the expansion of women’s influence in society.
“The Norwegian Government is 45 per cent female, we have a female President of the Storting, and the heads of the three governing parties are women. Nevertheless, we have a way to go, not least with regard to women’s participation in local politics. I hope many women are motivated to be on party lists in their municipalities in 2019,” says Silje Hjemdal, who attended on behalf of the Storting’s Standing Committee on Family and Cultural Affairs.
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