In a recorded address during the launch of the Commonwealth “Women in Local Government Forum,” President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca called for the empowerment of women and girls within communities and societies, which is a top priority on the agenda of all nations within the Commonwealth.
The President expressed her belief that it is essential “for us to not only continue emphasising the importance of women’s participation, but to take action, to ensure that women’s participation is effectively engaged across all positions of leadership.”
President Coleiro Preca said that where equality is lacking, there is democratic deficit. Therefore, she stated that it is of utmost importance that equality, equity and inclusion prevail in democratic processes of governance, within our communities and our societies.
The role of women’s leadership must take place as part of a collaborative and societal effort, whereby all stakeholders partake in such efforts, to develop our institutions and societies.
She said that to ensure effective and genuine democratic participation, the voices, experiences, and aspirations of women, alongside men, must be heard at all levels of governance and leadership.
Tying to recent indicators from the World Economic Forum, which show that it shall take 170 years to achieve meaningful gender parity on a global scale, the President said that to pursue the goals of gender equity and equality, within our governmental institutions, we must first find effective strategies to reform our systems, both nationally and across the Commonwealth.
We must challenge the status quo, which, unfortunately still maintains the marginalisation of too many women and girls.
President Coleiro Preca said that we must be bold, and take practical and timely measures to reform the current systems.
“We must do more to ensure the active and equitable participation of women in local governments and beyond,” The President said, whilst adding that gender parity must be acknowledged as a vital contributor to the success of all our institutions, and across our communities and societies.
The President said that gender parity is not only a point of moral necessity, but it also makes good social, economic, and political sense, and quoted a recent Gallup study. The study shows that more than 800 participating business units from the retail and hospitality industries, noted that gender-diverse business units have scored better financial outcomes than those that are dominated by one gender.
“Therefore, gender diversity will not only help our societies, but also our economic sectors. Women must be encouraged to share their talents and expertise, as valued collaborators, with a unique contribution to make across all facets of life,” she said.
In the political sector, and talking from her own experience, President Coleiro Preca said that there is an urgent need for more inclusive spaces for women to be promoted, for them to feel welcomed and encouraged, to make their necessary contributions within the political life of our communities and societies.
In order to make these goals a reality, we must first and foremost, find ways of making gender equality an issue which is understood and embraced by everybody.
It is for this reason that the celebration of gender diversity is a specific goal of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and its seventeen Sustainable Development Goals – as Goal 5 commits all our nations to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by 2030.
The President said that this goal can only be achieved, if, and when “we call for the deep-rooted reform of our social, economic and political institutions, so that they reflect the depth of our aspirations for equality, equity and inclusion.”
Lastly, the President reiterated her certainty that the role of women’s leadership is essential in guiding and transforming our societies – adding that women’s leadership will bring about the necessary participation, of all the members of our communities, thereby resulting in stronger, more resilient and more inclusive societies.
“We are called to be the builders of sustainable and inclusive peace, particularly at this uncertain time in the history of our world. The full force of the Commonwealth Charter and the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 can only become a reality when we address the fundamental inequality that still keeps too many women and girls from reaching the fullness of their aspirations,” The President concluded.