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Women Political Leaders Summit 2019

The WPL Summit 2019, co-hosted in Tokyo by the House of Representatives of Japan, brings together female government ministers and parliamentarians from all over the world.

Streaming: June 26 and June 27 (all times local)

Wednesday Sessions:

Opening session: Taking actions to advance society through SDGs

9 - 9:20 a.m.

  • Tadamori Oshima, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan
  • Silvana Koch-Mehrin, President of WPL
  • Shinako Tsuchiya, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, Leader of the Delegation for the WPL Summit 2019 in Japan, Chairperson of the Special Committee on Consumer Affairs at the House of Representatives
  • Yoko Kamikawa, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, WPL Ambassador, Minister of Justice (2014-2015, 2017-2018)
WPL Summit video statements - Shinzō Abe by Women Political Leaders on YouTube

Keynote: Taking actions to advance society through SDGs

9:20 - 9:30 a.m.

  • Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan (video)

Women and the role of Asia in the world

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

The WPL Summit is convening in the Asia/Pacific region for the first time. Accounting for over 60% of the world's population and creating over 60% of global growth, Asia will play a key role in the world's economic, social, and cultural development. Asian states have produced many women leaders. However, challenges still remain on the path to equality between women and men. It is now essential to promote women's rights and enhance women's participation in public life in order for whole societies across the region to advance.

  • Satsuki Katayama, Minister in charge of Women's Empowerment, Minister of State for Gender Equality of Japan, Member of the House of Councillors of Japan
  • Zuraida Kamaruddin, Member of Parliament and Minister of Housing and Local Government of Malaysia, WPL Ambassador
  • Ayesha Raza Farooq, Member of the Senate of Pakistan, Chairperson Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges
  • Mereseini Wakolo Rakuita Vuniwaqa, Member of Parliament, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation of Fiji
  • Moderated by: Lucy Craft, Reporter for CBS News
Female leaders discuss the legal and non-legal barries still facing women pursuing careers in politics around the world

Advancing society with women as political leaders

11:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.

Good governance is directly linked with women in power. Societies and countries that benefit from good governance are fertile ground for getting more women in the highest positions of leadership. However, global data indicate that the world is far from benefiting from the potential of half its population: women. Less than 10 percent of Heads of State and Government and only around 24 percent of Parliamentarians are women. The OECD, the World Bank and others indicate that countries with more women in positions of political leadership invest more in health and education, and enjoy higher public trust in politicians. This suggests that all policy making can benefit from women's points of view. From education and social welfare to finance and defense to building a society resilient to disasters, how can women's perspectives be included in all policies? 

  • Fumiko Hayashi, Mayor of the City of Yokohama, Japan
  • Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice President of Liberia, WPL Board Member
  • Anna Rossomando, Vice President of the Senate of Italy
  • Paula Cox, Premier of Bermuda (2010-2012)
  • María Loreto Carvajal Ambiado, First Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile
  • Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, Senior Advisor at UN Women, Chair of the WPL Board, Minister of Interior of Iceland (2013-2014)
  • Moderated by: Sayuri Daimon, Managing Editor of The Japan Times
Advancing the world with sustainable development goals

Advancing the world with sustainable development goals

2 - 3:10 p.m.

At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, 193 countries unanimously agreed to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consisting of 17 interconnected ambitious goals and 169 closely linked targets. The SDGs address global challenges related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. Among G20 countries, Japan is the leader in working side-by-side with local partners around the world to realize a society where no one is left behind. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can only be achieved if it translates into the reality of people at a local level. The session will aim to discuss the key challenges and opportunities for Parliamentarians to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 

  • Yoko Kamikawa, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, WPL Ambassador , Minister of Justice (2014-2015, 2017-2018)
  • Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate of Zimbabwe, Chairperson of the Women's Committee of the African Parliamentary Union (APU), WPL Ambassador
  • Åsa Lindestam, First Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag of Sweden, WPL Ambassador
  • Elizabeth Cabezas Guerrero, Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador
  • Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, Member of Parliament of Indonesia, WPL Board Member
  • Andre Musto, Regional Vice President - Asia Pacific at Merck Biopharma
  • Moderated by: Amanda Ellis, Executive Director, Hawaii & Asia-Pacific of ASU JA Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability

Thursday Sessions:

Video messages from world leaders for WPL 2019

Video messages

8:30 - 8:45 a.m.

  • Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of Croatia 
  • Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Lithuania 
  • Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands 
  • Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain 
  • Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong 
  • Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD 
Q&A: Advancing tomorrow's leaders

Q&A: Advancing tomorrow's leaders

8:45 - 9 a.m.

  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women
  • Silvana Koch-Mehrin, President of WPL 
Female leaders discuss women's health care at the Women Political Leaders Summit 2019

A conversation: Health and women

9 - 9:30 a.m.

Health is the foundation of social and economic strength. Understanding and addressing women's specific health needs and social conditions is crucial to ensure the well-being of both women and society as a whole. The WHO has found that inequality between women and men leads to health risks for women and girls. For example, women are burdened with an unequal share of unpaid work. They are not only working in their offices, the agricultural sector, schools, hospitals, businesses or elsewhere, but they are also the main unpaid workers at home. This double burden of work puts extra pressure on women's physical and mental health. Social practices that undermine women's ability to act independently for themselves impede their well-being and health. If countries want to have healthier societies and thriving economies, women leaders are part of the solution. They can tackle these challenges by conceiving and promoting more effective measures to ensure a healthy society.

  • Emiko Takagai, State Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, Member of the House of Councillors of Japan
  • Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Member of the Parliament of Ireland, Minister of State for Health Promotion (2016-2017) 
  • Dorthe Mikkelsen, President Asia Pacific at MSD 
  • Moderated by: Katja Iversen, President and CEO of Women Deliver 

Keynote: Advancing health for all

9:30 - 9:40 a.m.

  • Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) 

Female leaders discuss recycling and marine plastic at the Women Political Leaders Summit in Japan

Addressing climate change and establishing a recycling society

9:40 - 10:40 a.m.

Climate change poses a threat to the safety, health and the lives of all. The depletion of natural resources is closely correlated to waste, air and marine pollution. Rather than coping with these problems separately, developing a recycling society can contribute to a sustainable society and growth. In the spirit of mottainai (a Japanese term conveying a sense of regret concerning waste), this session will explore ideas on how to build an international recycling system of resources and promote a transition to a society with low contamination and pollution by encouraging reduction and the appropriate treatment of waste. 

  • Naomi Tokashiki, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, State Minister of the Environment (2017-2018), State Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare (2015-2016)
  • Paola Taverna, Vice President of the Senate of Italy
  • Verónica Delgadillo García, Member of the Senate of Mexico, WPL Ambassador
Female leaders talk "G20 & Womenomics" as part of the 2019 Women Political Leaders Summit

G20 & Womenomics: Setting the scene

11:10 - 11:25 a.m.

  • Nadia Calviño, Minister of Economy and Business of Spain 
  • Rebeca Grynspan, Ibero-American Secretary-General, Under Secretary General of the United Nations (2010-2014), Vice-President of Costa Rica (1994-1998) (confirmed)
  • Moderated by: Rick Zednik, Managing Director at WPL 
Female leaders discuss "Womenomics" at the Women Political Leaders Summit 2019

G20 & Womenomics: The smart choice

11:25 a.m. - 12:25 p.m.

Women are less likely than men to join the labor market. Social stereotypes and preconceived expectations of the role of women affect their participation in the economy, the type of jobs they get, and their earnings. This represents an economic cost not only for women but for communities and countries. As Kristalina Georgieva, Interim President and CEO of the World Bank, said "the world is essentially leaving $160 trillion on the table when we neglect inequality in earnings over the lifetime between men and women." "Womenomics" is the term Japan adopted to refer to policies aimed at increasing women's participation in the labour market. At last year's G20 in Buenos Aires, the Leaders' Declaration confirmed again that equality between women and men is crucial for fair and sustainable economic growth. This session will aim to promote the importance of women's success for economic growth as a premise for further advancement at this year's G20. 

  • Tomoko Abe, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan
  • Mody Al Khalaf, Member of Parliament of Saudi Arabia
  • Canan Kalsin, Member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Chairperson of the Committee on Equality of Opportunity for Women and Men
  • Liudmila Bokova, First Chairperson of the Federation Council Committee for Constitutional Legislation and State Building of Russia
  • Haruno Yoshida, W20 Co-chair of W20 in Japan
  • Amy Weaver, President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, for Salesforce
Women Political Leaders Summit: "Walk the Talk"

Walk the talk

3:30 - 3:50 p.m.

Two Prime Ministers, two global leaders, a woman and a man who walk the talk. From New Zealand to Portugal to the United Nations and the European Commission to the non-for profit to the corporate sectors, in every step, words turned into actions. This conversation will offer an opportunity to discuss two extraordinary journeys that pave the path to progress.

  • José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission (2004-2014), Non-Executive Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, WPL Advisory Board Member 
  • Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008), UNDP Administrator (2009-2017), Patron of The Helen Clark Foundation, WPL Board Member (confirmed)
  • Moderated by: Silvana Koch-Mehrin, President of WPL 
Next generation leaders call to action

Next generation leaders, call to action

3:50 - 4 p.m.

The #Girl2Leader initiative launched by Women Political Leaders (WPL) aims to socially empower girls around the world. The case for more women in positions of politics and leadership needs to be more loudly heard. Today's political leaders are almost all men: 94.4% of Heads of State and 92.7% of Heads of Government! It's time for change. It's time for girls and women to lead the world with brains and hearts. For change to happen, we need to connect today's leaders to the next generation of leaders. This session aims to bring #Girl2Leader Ambassadors together to share their experiences and inspiration of guiding the next generation of leaders and highlights the importance of the #Girl2Leader initiative.

  • Assita Kanko, Member of the European Parliament
  • Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, Member of Parliament of Indonesia, WPL Board Member 
  • Yoko Kamikawa, Member of the House of Representatives, Minister of Justice (2017-2018) of Japan, WPL Ambassador
  • Zuraida Kamaruddin, Member of Parliament and Minister of Housing and Local Government of Malaysia, WPL Ambassador 

Moderated by: Silvana Koch-Mehrin, President of WPL 

Closing remarks & WPL Summit 2019 declaration

Closing remarks & WPL Summit 2019 declaration

4 - 4:10 p.m.

Following two days of discussion and debate, WPL Summit 2019 participants express their consensus view of the big issues that they have addressed collectively. These women political leaders hereby share their joint declaration to the global community, including the leaders convening the next day for the start of the G20 Summit.

  • Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, Senior Advisor for UN Women, Chair of the WPL Board, Minister of Interior of Iceland (2013-2014), Mayor of Reykjavik (2008-2010)
  • Shinako Tsuchiya, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, Leader of the Delegation for the WPL Summit 2019 in Japan
  • Yoko Kamikawa, Member of the House of Representatives, Minister of Justice (2014-2015, 2017-2018) of Japan, WPL Ambassador
WPL Summit 2019: Statements by national delegation leaders

Statements by national delegation leaders 

4:10 - 6:40 p.m.

Moderated by:

  • Yuko Obuchi, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (2014)
  • Seiko Noda, Chairperson of the Committee on Budget of HR, Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications (2017-2018), Minister in charge of Women's Empowerment (2017-2018)
  • Shinako Tsuchiya, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, Chair of the Committee, Leader of the Delegation for the WPL Summit 2019 in Japan, Chairperson of the Special Committee on Consumer Affairs of the House of Representatives
  • Midori Ishii, Chairperson of the Committee on Audit of House of Councillors
  • Midori Matsushima, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, Minister of Justice (2014)
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