11.06.2016 - ODG

Director-General receives the 2016 Global Women’s Leadership Award

©UNESCOUnesco Director General Irina Bokova and Ms Irene Natividad, President of the Global Summit of Women.

On 10 June, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova was awarded the 2016 Global Women’s Leadership award from Ms Irene Natividad, President of the Global Summit of Women (GSW) in recognition of her work “to improve gender equality and promote education for women and girls around the world”. The award ceremony took place during a gala dinner of the Annual Global Summit of Women, hosted this year in Warsaw, Poland. It brought together around 800 women leaders from the public and private sectors from 70 countries, including the Vice President of Viet Nam, Her Excellency Ms Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, the President of the Korean Red Cross and Founder of Sungjioo Group, Ms Sung-Joo, as well as women government ministers and senior executives of private sector companies.

Expressing her appreciation for the Award which she accepted on behalf of UNESCO, the Director-General stressed that “women and girls rights are an inalienable, integral part of universal human rights”. “Being born a girl remains a primary cause of exclusion -- we must act and I am convinced that it starts in the benches of schools” she said.

She further recalled that “only 60 percent of countries have achieved parity in primary education and only 38 percent in secondary”. “This does not only harm women – it weakens the fabric of societies; it throws a shadow over development, and undermines the ground for peace” she added.

Referring to the courage and determination of women and girls around the world, the Director-General said “from classrooms in Afghanistan, to refugees camps in Turkey and Jordan -- the fact is these women are already leaders – they just need our support”.

In her remarks, Ms Natividad, President of the Global Summit of Women, recognized UNESCO’s essential work on the protection of cultural heritage around the world and in particular in conflict areas, the promotion of access to quality education and lifelong learning for all as well as cultural dialogue and mutual understanding for peace. The Director-General commended Ms Natividad for her leadership in organizing the Global Summit of Women which, she said, is a unique gathering of women leaders.

During the event, Ms Natividad also presented a national Women Leadership Award to Ms Henryka Bochniarz, President of the Polish Confederation of Employers and Founder of the Polish Congress of Women.

The theme of this this year’s GSW was “Women, Building an Inclusive Economy in the Digital Age”. The Summit has been focusing on women’s influence in creating stronger economies in this era of new technologies affecting the way governments and corporations do business. In addition, the 2016 Summit edition will also inform delegates on how to access the Central and Eastern European market, showcase women business and government leaders from the region, provide skills-building sessions, as well as establish networks among leaders.




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