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Sveriges ambassadKigali, Rwanda

Lokal tid 09:34

Internationella Kvinnodagen 8 mars, 2021

17 mar 2021

Under internationella kvinnodagen den 8 mars 2021, deltog Ambassadör Johanna Teague i en paneldiskussion arrangerat av EU-delegationen i Kigali. Temat för eventet var "Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World". Medverkade gjorde en rad olika kvinnor i ledande positioner. Nedan kan ni läsa Ambassadör Teagues inledande tal i full version.

"I can’t think of a better topic to focus on, as we celebrate the international women’s day than women in leadership, highlighting the importance of women in contributing to the recovery of covid-19.

We can all be leaders. Leadership is about envisioning a future and driving change.

In challenging times – as the year we have just lived and what we are experiencing at present - we see the importance of leadership more than ever. We need visionary leaders that provide aspirations for the future, turning challenges into opportunity.

Leaders that understand the reality of individual persons and motivate people to contribute to the change we want to see, to safety and stability, and to creating a better world. A green world for sure!

Leadership is so much more than a formal role.

I find inspiration in Brenée Brown. In her line of thinking,

To me, leadership is very much about seeing the potential in people, and supporting them to become the best versions of themselves, building on strengths.

It is about seeing the potential in ideas, and having the courage to explore those ideas.

Not having the answers, but asking the questions. Focusing attention on opportunities.

Leadership comes with curiosity, creativity and compassion.

It is the creation of collective intelligence in the pursuit of a common good.

I would say leadership is a choice, almost an identity.

Women make a difference in building back better

As we strive to build back better and greener - Gender equal leadership makes a difference.

Including women and providing conditions for them – for us - to exercise leadership – through rights, representation and resources - is not only the right thing to do

– it is the smart thing to do.

The participation of women at all levels of leadership is a basic human right - pivotal for women’s empowerment.

Greater involvement of women ensures that broader perspectives on the pandemic are considered, paving the way for richer and more complete solutions. More women in leadership will contribute to peace and security, to generating income and to creating a greener future. Here it is interesting to note that research undertaken by the UN suggests that when women are involved, decision outcomes tend to be more environmentally conscious – both at local- and national levels.

Do women exercise a different kind of leadership? I do not know. It has been said that ecosystems led by women are driven by qualities of empathy, compassion, listening and collaboration.

While these characteristics are not exclusive to women in any way, for sure they are key to the kind of leadership we need to solve the challenges of the 21st

Needless to say few countries are like Rwanda when it comes to gender equality and women in leadership – particularly when it comes to political representation at national level. Rwanda ranked 9 out of 153 countries in the global gender gap index in 2020.

Let us stop here for one moment – 9 out of 153 countries. Let it sink in.

I think of my many colleagues here in Rwanda – both in the public as well as in other sectors  - and feel joy and gratitude. I am equally impressed as inspired.

There are still gaps – more needs to be done

Even so - as in Sweden and elsewhere, there is still room for improvement when it comes to female leadership. Rwanda scored 5,4 out of 7 (on the Global Gender Gap Index in 2020) when it comes to advancement of women to leadership roles.

As to representation in the private sector – we see that firms are mainly owned by men, and that men constitute top management.

Companies with more gender-balanced leadership perform better. There is research on this. As private sector development constitutes a key driver for the continued prosperity of Rwanda, it is central that women take part in and benefit – particularly in leadership positions.

There is also room for improvement when it comes to gender equality in tech roles. This is particularly interesting as it will be pivotal to increase gender equality to unlock the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to the World Economic Forum.

We see that women and girls suffer the consequences of the pandemic to a higher degree than men. Examples include an increased prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV), teenage pregnancies and further economic marginalization.

Hence it is more important than ever to stand up for the need to protect women and girls’ human rights.

And it is more important than ever to stand up for a gender-balanced leadership. Together with a strong normative agenda guided by gender equality, a gender-balanced leadership is key to ensuring that gender-sensitive perspectives are integrated into the process of “building back better and greener”.

We simply cannot afford to loose the potential of all girls and women. Too many girls today are left behind because they live in poverty and because of prevailing social norms that keep them from doing what they are capable of. This needs to change.

So, to sum up, challenging times call for great leaders.

But maybe more so – it calls for all of us to be leaders. And - to quote Brenée Brown – it calls for women and men, individuals, to dare to lead.

That is why I am so very happy to be here today, and to kick-start this interesting discussion, with women who do just that, who dare to lead. Who dare to challenge, setting an example of what is possible and for how we can build a better future together.

We need women leaders, female role models. Let us all find inspiration in today’s talk – and be the leaders of the change we want to see happen.


Thank you!"


Senast uppdaterad 18 mar 2021, 08.19