The dynamic and diverse Americas contain some of the world’s oldest and youngest democracies – all of which share an embrace of change. North American countries especially are leaders in global innovation, from technologies that power our world and shape our culture, to institutions and movements for international cooperation and societal change. Yet the Americas’ innovation and dynamism alone are not yet enough to address society’s biggest challenges, such as climate change or inequality.
The Women’s Forum believes that building on women’s leadership is essential to shape inclusive, thriving economies and societies, and that power and purpose is the winning combination to deliver progress on human issues. Accelerating change calls for new models of leadership and coalition-building, led by power and purpose.
But for women to take the lead, their untapped potential must be unleashed. This is critical to economic inclusion, productivity, and progress. Yet North America lags in the gender- parity stakes and will reach parity only in 151 years, while Latin America will close its gender gap in 59. United States progress toward gender parity stalled in 2019: it ranked a middling 53rd of 153 nations on the Global Gender Gap Index, down two rungs from 2018 and behind countries such as Rwanda and Nicaragua.
With its history of democratic ideals, the US has often been looked to for global leadership on issues of equality and justice. After a century of women’s suffrage, American women exercise their voting rights in greater proportion than men. Under its leadership, how can the world’s most powerful nations bring the power and purpose of women’s leadership to life? Canada and France made gender equality a key issue during their G7 presidencies. In 2020, we challenge the G7 to step up again.
The Women’s Forum Americas 2020 will be held at Navy Pier in Chicago, a vibrant global city where inclusive leadership is already thriving. From May 26-27, we will welcome more than 1,000 high-level visionary leaders and trailblazers from all around the continent and beyond. We aim to advance the conversation about our impact in the world, and drive action around and beyond issues where women’s leadership has outsize impact.
Our challenge to the G7 on women’s leadership has three key pillars:
1. The power of women for work and business
2. A purpose-driven future for societies and economies
3. Collective power & purpose for impact at scale