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How do we increase the global percentage of women in public service and capitalize on the progress made thus far? What are the unique challenges that female candidates face? How can we support women to run for office in countries where they are severely underrepresented?

Referencing the recent spate of critiques against women leaders in Asia, Africa, and South America, President Banda warned that “women’s leadership is under attack…If we don’t watch that, we will lose all we have gained.” 

The Honorable Jane Harman, Director, President and CEO of the Wilson Center, offered opening remarks. “When I first ran for Congress,” Harman remarked, “there were virtually no women in the security space.”

Acknowledging the multifaceted value women bring to societal wellbeing in terms of lowering poverty, increasing business performance, and protecting the environment from unsustainable activities, Rt. Hon. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila framed much of  her opening remarks around Namibia’s commitment to promoting gender equity and recognizing women’s rights as human rights.

When the voices of those most entrenched in this strife are silenced, we come to inaccurate conceptions of what extremism is. In reality, it is not simply a conflict of western ideals -- or "progressive sociocultural ideals" -- versus radical Islam. It is a conflict over Islam itself, and the ongoing struggle of women and men in the MENA region to fight extremists.

Female technology graduates remain an underutilized resource to fill crucially important positions in areas such as cybersecurity. This underrepresentation is the result of both a “conscious and unconscious bias” that can be eliminated by perfecting ways to promote and retain women who graduate with computer science degrees.