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As the world undergoes profound change, the pandemic has clearly revealed the indispensable role of women leaders and the need for models of leadership to be re-conceptualized.
These ideas are at the heart of the Baha'i International Community (BIC)’s contribution to the 65th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which includes a statement titled Leadership for a Culture of Equality, in Times of Peril and Peace.
“In nations where women have contributed more prominently to leadership in their society at whatever level, a degree of stability has been seen across a variety of short-term indicators, including public health and economic security,” says Saphira Rameshfar, Representative of the BIC.
“It has never been so clear how much humanity benefits when women’s leadership is embraced and promoted at every level of society, whether in the family or the village, the community or local government, the corporation or the nation.”
In its statement to the Commission, the BIC highlights several characteristics and capacities for effective leadership, including “the ability to harmonize different voices and foster a sense of common endeavor.”
At an online discussion centered on the BIC statement during CSW, Charlotte Bunch of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University said, “I think that the model that [the BIC] put forward is really important. We need to understand that a model of equality … isn't about making women equally dominant over other people to make them leaders …”
At another discussion space attended by ambassadors of several UN member states, participants viewed the recently released film Glimpses of the Spirit of Gender Equality. In response to the film, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Liberia to the UN, Ambassador Israel Choko Davies, said: “You see how actions in a given community can cultivate positive changes in the behavior of others.
“We see how happy a family becomes when a husband and wife exhibit mutual respect for one another and see themselves as equals. You learn of the positive role and the importance of spirituality in achieving gender equality. You realize the important role a family can play in promoting gender equality.”
Ambassador Davies quoted the film saying, “The capacity to love, to create, to persevere, has no gender.”
Forty-nine delegates representing the BIC joined more than 25,000 representatives of governments and non-governmental organizations at this year’s CSW which was held online – the largest gathering since the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing involving governments and civil society organizations in advancing the discourse on gender equality.