“We must do better than this,” said Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “Too many women are unaccounted for, underutilized, and over-exploited. It is a moral imperative, but it is also an economic imperative. The evidence is plain—when women contribute more, the economy does better.”
Lagarde delivered the keynote address at NDI’s May 19 Madeleine K. Albright Grant luncheon, encouraging people to “dare the difference” through the three “L’s” of women’s empowerment — learning, labor and leadership.
“Each one of us has a responsibility to help women and girls to climb the ladder, whether here at home or abroad,” said Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state and NDI chairman, who introduced Lagarde as her “fellow ceiling smasher.”
“We need a 21st century mentality for women’s economic participation. We need to flush away the flotsam of ingrained gender inequality,” said Lagarde.
At the luncheon, which celebrated women’s political and economical empowerment, Aswat Nisaa (Women’s Voices) of Tunisia was awarded the 2014 Madeleine K. Albright Grant for its work carving out space for women in politics and leadership position in post-revolution Tunisia. Ikram Ben Saïd, founder and president of Aswat Nisaa, accepted the award on the organization’s behalf.
“We believe women who are empowered can achieve political, social and economic change that will lead to equality,” said Ben Saïd.
“For us, this relationship is more than a partnership, it’s a journey. It’s a path toward democracy, dignity, human rights, and a better world.”
During a panel preceding the luncheon, Albright; Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California and former secretary of homeland security; Liberata Mulamula, Tanzania’s ambassador to the U.S. and Mexico; and Susan Markham, senior coordinator for gender equality and women’s empowerment for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), came together for a panel in which they explored the links between women who are politically empowered and economies and democracies that thrive. Claire Shipman of ABC’s “Good Morning America” moderated the panel.
“We’re educating lots of women, but what we’re not doing is preparing women to take risks and to fail,” said Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California and former secretary of homeland security.
Panelists explored the challenges women face in reaching positions of power, and the ways in which women leaders champion legal, social and political changes that advance women’s economic empowerment and help build stronger economies. Despite leadership qualities that women bring to the table, Markham explained that for many women, “politics is a luxury they think they can’t afford.”
“Laws are important, but they’re not enough,” said Albright, noting that a cultural shift in the way societies view women in power is also necessary. “You can pass the laws but you have to make sure the culture really allows it.”
- Tunisia's Aswat Nisaa to Receive NDI's 2014 Madeleine K. Albright Grant
- IMF Director Christine Lagarde to Deliver Keynote Address at NDI's Madeleine Albright Luncheon»
Published May 20, 2014
Updated May 28, 2014