WASHINGTON — Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Council of Women World Leaders held a conference on Wednesday to discuss the importance of gender in world affairs. The event opened with a keynote speech by Tarja Halonen, Finland’s first female president. A panel consisting of three other leaders followed.
President Tarja Halonen of Finland, urged both men and women to change their attitudes. If more women adopted a feminist standpoint and men became more democratic and progressive, world problems like genocide would decrease, she said.
Former Irish President Mary Robinson explained the role of women in regard to climate change. She told stories of meeting individuals, who were suffering in third world countries from climate issues.
Margot Wallström of Sweden, representative to the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict for the United Nations, spoke about the lack of impunity in areas like Congo and Bosnia. Although organizations have been active in addressing this problem, there is more to be done, she said.
Representing the Council’s Graduate Leaders Program, Sabrina Roshan, an American citizen of Pakistani origin, spoke about her experiences working at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. The Graduate Leaders Program matches students in United States universities with international women leaders in public policy, the environment and public health.