Media Release

WASHINGTON/GENEVA — The Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) at the Wilson Center and Women@TheTable in Geneva have announced a global convening of women leaders from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. “Breakthrough Barriers: Women in the Public Sphere” will devise transnational solutions to overcome the foremost barriers to global gender parity in public service.

The summit, held March 1-2 at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland, will encourage women leaders from all regions of the world to develop a roadmap for the future of women’s policy and political leadership. Three working sessions will be facilitated by women with globally recognized experience in office: Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi and Wilson Center Distinguished Fellow; Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan; and Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.

At the end of the day a public event at the Graduate Institute of Geneva entitled “A Gender Reality Check in Global Leadership” will focus on recommendations for promoting women’s leadership across sectors and regions around the world.

Commenting on the global focus of the summit, Gwen K. Young, Director of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative and Women in Public Service Project said: “By bridging geographic, generational, and sectoral divides, this summit will break down the silos that so often form around efforts toward gender parity. The solutions that emerge will accelerate progress across sectors, across the aisle for increasing women’s leadership and participation in public service”

Founder of Women@theTable, and Co-Founder of the International Gender Champions, Caitlin Kraft-Buchman stated that “This is the beginning of a newly dynamic, action-oriented conversation between women leaders on how to truly accelerate gender equality around the globe in the immediate future.  This is an issue that is of vital importance to us all: men and women alike.”

More information about the summit sessions, facilitators, and participants is available at The public event will be streamed via Facebook Live at, and the conversation throughout the day will be tracked on social media using #BreakthroughSummit17.


  1. The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world.
  2. The Women in Public Service Project, housed at the Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, will accelerate global progress towards women’s equal participation in policy and political leadership to create more dynamic and inclusive institutions that leverage the full potential of the world’s population to change the way global solutions are forged.
  3. Women@theTable makes women visible on the global stage + women leaders a point of reference in cultural conversations extending past 'women’s issues' into the larger debate on the economy, governance, technology, sustainability, and peace. We make space on mainstream platforms, and invent new platforms when there are few opportunities for women to be visible and have their voices heard.  Women@theTable is one of the three co-founders of the International Gender Champions movement, a leadership network that brings together female and male decision-makers to break down gender barriers.