UNDP and Partners Launch Global Women’s Leadership Index for 50-50 Women Leaders in Public Office by 2050
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New York, 28 November- The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offers an unprecedented opportunity for societies to ensure that women have equal access to lead public institutions on the path to transformative change. Today, UNDP and partners launched two groundbreaking initiatives to accelerate progress towards the Global Goals.
UNDP’s Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) global initiative and the Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project jointly launched the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative Index aimed at improving effectiveness, accountability and inclusiveness of public institutions. The Leadership Index explores the trends and relationships between three pillars: pathways, positions and power, held by women across different sectors of Government. The relationships between these pillars explain the barriers and opportunities to reach the goal of increasing women leaders in public office to 50%, by 2050.
Lakshmi Puri, the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, in her opening remarks stated, “Gender data is critical for all development partners working to achieve the SDGs. The absence of data impedes transparency and accountability. Even where there are the best of intentions, the absence of data makes evidence-based policy-making very difficult and restricts how effectively we can advocate for change. And when we cannot advocate for change, it is more difficult to mobilise the resources needed to finance the development outcomes we would like to see.”
“We therefore need solid disaggregated data and efforts that put that information to effective and strategic use,” she further added.
The overall data in the index shows that civil service could potentially become the first of the government sectors to achieve parity in both participation and leadership. Currently women hold 29.7% of leadership positions on average. While women hold 43.9% of all civil service positions – this represents a 14 point gap between overall participation and leadership. Even though women leaders in this sector is still below the 50% mark, the civil service serves as the high water mark.
At the event, UNDP and McKinsey and Company also released a joint report: Gender Diversity in the State – a Development Accelerator? Building on the landmark McKinsey report- The Power of Parity, the findings emphasize the need to collect and apply gender data for effective policy making. The report states – in Public Administration, gender equality is important, both in the workplace, and because it impacts how the government interfaces and delivers for its citizens.
On behalf of UNDP, Patrick Keuleers, Director, Governance and Peacebuilding stated, “The partnerships we have forged to advance gender equality in public administration, particularly with the Wilson Center, on generating and publishing better data on gender equality in public institutions, and with McKinsey on studying the correlation between gender equality and public sector performance, are fundamental for the progress we collectively want to make to enhance women’s empowerment in public institutions. Our efforts aim to provide the support that governments and stakeholders need to transform the landscape, and we commend Member States such as Canada and Kenya for embracing this transformative agenda and blazing a trail in the global community.”
For the last six years, the UNDP Global GEPA Initiative has been working to support provision for gender equality in public institutions, at all stages and at all levels, in order to ensure an environment where women have equal access, not just to participate, but to take leadership roles in the public decision-making processes that contribute to inclusive growth and sustainable peace. To date, GEPA has surveyed over 130 countries and done in-depth case studies in 15 countries leading to policy recommendations in each of them. These efforts are instrumental in measuring progress towards responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative institutions (SDG Target 16.7) and women’s full and equal participation in public life (SDG Target 5.5).
H.E. Mrs. Koki Muli Grignon Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations: Generation of accurate, timely, and relevant data is expensive, requires resources and political goodwill. For this reason, the government has collaborated with development partners and UN agencies including UNDP and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in an effort to capture and document progress in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.
H.E. Ms. Louise Blais, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations: “The world in which we live is shaped by how governments, civil society, the private sector and individuals interact to effect change, make decisions, and allocate resources, and the voices of women are still too often not heard on an equitable basis. For governance to be inclusive, it must equitably represent all members of the population. And having women and girls as full participants leads to better decision-making that improves the quality of life for all.”
Ms. Gwen K. Young, Director, Women in Public Service Project, Woodrow Wilson Center: “The Leadership Index tells us where we are today: the pathways women take to leadership, the positions they hold, and the power they have once they get there. The Leadership Index also tells us where we need to go by identifying barriers to leadership as well as critical gaps in the data that must be addressed to accelerate global progress toward parity.”
Ms. Kweilin Ellingrud, McKinsey & Company: “There is a lot more data collection and investigation that needs to be done into how gender equality in public administration leads to better development outcomes, and how best we can accelerate that around the world. This has been an exciting collaboration with UNDP on gender quality in public administration and how we can accelerate our progress.”
(Photo Credit: Beto Ramos/UNDP)