The Women Political Leaders Summit is the “foremost global gathering of female political leaders,” according to their website. Every year, more than 350 female political leaders from around the world convene to exchange ideas on best practices around the globe concerning leadership and legislation, and embark on a political agenda setting that would create change in society.
In 2019, the summit was held in Tokyo, Japan and was co-hosted by the House of Representatives. It was the first worldwide gathering of female politicians on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and participants came from 87 countries. Senate presidents, House speakers and former Prime Ministers such as New Zealand’s Helen Clark and Portugal’s Jose Manuel Barroso also attended the summit.
Arizona State University (by way of Amanda Ellis, executive director of Hawaii and Asia-Pacific for the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and former U.N. Ambassador) played a key role in the WPL 2019, actively participating by moderating a session on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and workshopping a three-minute learning module with more than 100 parliamentarians to help promote gender equality laws. Currently, there are only six countries that have gender equality legislation, and ASU (in a cross-university working group including Ed Plus, Global Futures Laboratory, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and Thunderbird) is working as co-lead of a global consortium that includes U.N. Women, the U.N. Foundation, the World Bank, the Women Political Leaders Forum, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and Council of Women World Leaders. ASU also acted as emcee for the final day of the summit.
Other upcoming events include:
- November 2019: A longer module to be tested at the 141st Inter-Parliamentary Assembly.
- March 2020: There will be a modules launch at the UN Committee on the Status of Women in NY to commemorate 25th anniversary of Beijing Platform for action for women.
- Further in the future: There is a goal to secure funding to use the model developed for each of the U.N. SDGs to encourage policy makers to learn from good practices and create positive legislative environments for sustainability.