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In partnership with women

The Power of Empowered Women

26 February 2013

Women's hands - artwork by Italian artist Clara Garesio
Women's hands - artwork by Italian artist Clara Garesio

The EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva co-organised on 26 February 2013 the event 'The Power of Empowered Women', taking place in the margins of the 22nd Human Rights Council. An initiative of the 40 women ambassadors to the UN in Geneva, the event aimed at highlighting the transformative impact of women in societies around the world. 

In her opening remarks, Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, praised the increasing participation of women in political affairs but cautioned that many inequalities remain to be overcome.

A high-level panel of inspiring women leaders shared their personal experiences and discussed the enabling factors that have allowed them to succeed in their professional lives. They also recalled the obstacles they faced and the sacrifices they had to make, be it in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa or North America.

The event illustrated the many concrete ways in which women across the globe have become a critical driving force for positive change in society, be it in the area of politics, economics, science or culture.  At the same time, speakers also addressed remaining challenges and areas of inequality.

As Mara Marinaki, Managing Director of Global and Multilateral Affairs of the European External Action Service put it: "In a two hour event we managed to make a tour around the world and to hear the experience of women of very different background, culture, religion and upbringing."

The event was moderatored by Al Jazeera anchor women Ghida Fakrhy. Panellist of this event included:

  • Ruth Dreifuss, Former President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Shabana Basicj-Rasikh, Founder of the School of Leadership (SOLA), Afghanistan
  • Sabine de Bethune, President of the Senate of Belgium
  • Sharan Burrow, President of the International Trade Union, Australia
  • Bineta Diop, Executive Director of Femmes Africa Solidarité, Senegal
  • Mervat El-Tallawy, Ambassador and Chairwoman of the National Council of Women in Egypt
  • Livia Jaroka, Member of the European Parliament
  • Barbara Hendricks, Honorary Lifetimes Goodwill Ambassador, UNHCR
  • Haya Khalil, General Director, Al Noor Institute for the Blind
  • Mara Marinaki, Managing Director, Global and Multilateral Issues, European External Action Service
  • Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

In the context of 'The Power of Empowered Women', the EU Delegation in Geneva also donated the EU's first artwork ever to the UN.

In "Women's hands", an artwork by Italian artist Clara Garesio, was handed over by the EU Head of Delegation Mrs. Mariangela Zappia to the UN Office in Geneva, represented by the Director-General Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

As Ambassador Mariangela Zappia said: "It is a special day for the European Union - as we offer the very first donation to the United Nations - and it is special for me as a woman since this beautiful piece of art is about the beauty, the simplicity and strength of women as positive transformative forces of our societies."


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