Earlier this June, Amanda Ellis, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, attended the annual Women Political Leaders Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. This event brought together approximately 400 female politicians, including heads of state, parliamentarians, ministers and mayors. Ellis was invited to attend as the moderator of a panel called “A Woman’s Place is in Politics” and also as the Master of Ceremonies to present the 2018 awardees.
The Women Political Leaders Summit started in 2013 and is designed to address global challenges, create action, and help female politicians exchange knowledge and best practices of political decision making. In addition, the summit works toward the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Five: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. According to the United Nations, “Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.”
“The number of women in politics remains disappointing,” Ellis said. In 2017, less than six percent of the world’s heads of government were women, according to a United Nations report. “Yet research bears out the point made by [summit] panel member Esther Mcheka Chilenje, Malawi’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament: ‘When women are in power, we can lift up our colleagues and use our influence to help others and advocate for the legislative rights of women and children.’”