23 October 2015, Geneva, Switzerland - Following the success of its first events earlier this year, UNITAR’s Women’s Leadership Programme delivered its third Leadership Workshop on 22 and 23 October in Geneva. With 10 participants from International Geneva, including representatives from Permanent Missions, the non-governmental sector and international organizations, the workshop succeeded in providing a positive, empowering and engaging environment for learning, self-reflection and development and the building of a strong network amongst women and female professionals

Women’s participation in leadership roles remains a high priority as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and recently adopted the Global Agenda 2030 with its Sustainable Development Goals, calling for the integration of gender equality perspectives across all goals. The Women’s Leadership Programme is a joint initiative launched by UNITAR’s Multilateral Diplomacy Programme and UN Women in May 2015, built on the momentum already existing in Geneva amongst Geneva’s Gender Champions Network, and has since delivered over 5 events in Geneva and New York, reaching over 200 participants.

The Programme seeks to promote gender equality and leadership opportunities for women in multilateral decision making fora. Working with UN agencies and key strategic partners, the Women’s Leadership Programme is delivering capacity building and awareness raising events to provide opportunities for women to build personal leadership skills and learn from women in leadership positions, with the aim of reaching 50:50 balance of women and men in political decision making contexts by 2030 (UN Women’s Planet 50:50 by 2030 and HeforShe initiatives). 

On Thursday and Friday, 22-23 October, the Women’s Leadership Workshop empowered participants with an impactful and inspiring activity encouraging participants to critically asses what characterizes a strong leader, appreciate personal strengths as a woman in leadership, strengthen the application of key high priority skills for effective performance, and build personal confidence, identity and direction. 

The workshop was facilitated by Ambassador Tania Dussey-Cavassini, special advisor and facilitator for UNITAR’s Women’s Leadership Programme, who combines experience in global health, management consulting, executive education, diplomacy and law enforcement. It included a high-level panel, with interventions made by Her Excellencies, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez of Costa Rica,  Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan of Fjij and Ms. Helen Frary of UNAIDS. These high-level women spoke about their personal experience, success, challenges and lessons-learned throughout their careers and their paths into leadership. The panel thus provided rich and inspiring discussions about the role of women in leadership positions.

“A woman who leads qualitatively, leads as an agent of change, with an understanding of how gender, culture, racial and religious prejudice, and intolerance of sexual orientation freedoms can combine to prevent substantive equality and justice in the lives of all women.” - Ambassador Khan

The workshop was interactive and dynamic, providing an open and neutral environment for participants to share ideas, feelings, challenges and opportunities, in a mindful and facilitated programme which guided and supported the common learning experience. The evaluations of the workshop were extremely positive, asking for further workshops in the near future.

“Tania has been an outstanding facilitator. She knew how to connect with us, adapting the content to our personal situations, and teaching us by example. The two days were fantastic, there was a great balance between collective learning and the individualized feedback. The panel at the end of day one was amazing.”

The Workshop participants will remain connected through UNITAR’s alumni network. UNITAR looks forward to working with UN Women and other UN Partners and Member States to deliver similar workshops in the near future.

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For more information, please send us an Email at womensleadership@unitar.org or visit the Women’s Leadership Programme’s Webpage.

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