Reykjavík Global Forum – Women Leaders 2020 recently brought together women leaders from all sectors, including politics, business, civil society, academia, the arts, and media to join a conversation about how to build a more resilient and equal society. It was on the subject of resilience that former President of Malawi and Amujae Coach, Dr. Joyce Banda, spoke at the event on Tuesday, November 10.
Speaking with President and Founder of Women Political Leaders Silvana Koch-Mehrin and Senior Adviser on Women’s Leadership at UN Women and Chair of the Board at the Reykjavík Global Forum Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, Dr. Banda recalled some lessons she has learned from a young age. When she was a child, she learned how important it was to fight for what she believed in on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves, which led her to the realization at age 14 that it was her mission to, “grow up and fight for justice.”
Dr. Banda also spoke about her time in office, serving as Vice President and President, and the need for leaders to connect with their constituents at all levels in order to be effective:
“Leadership is a love affair. You must fall in love with the people you serve, and the people must fall in love with you. Then you have political capital.”
As a leader, Dr. Banda faced numerous threats, and kept moving forward in the face of adversity, sharing her experiences to inspire other women to follow behind her and achieve their own goals. She said:
“As a woman leader you must be resilient, and you must be determined to take risks.”
During the three-day event, Dr. Banda was named as this year’s Women Political Leaders Trailblazer Award Winner. The announcement acknowledged her work, including her “relentless contribution in fighting for a more inclusive and equitable society.”
In accepting the award, Dr. Banda said:
“I have been extremely lucky to be the one that implemented issues that emerged from personal experience, namely education, maternal health, income into poor households, and human rights. I want to accept this award and thank all those that have been involved in putting this together. I say thank you.”
The event also saw the launch of the Women’s World Atlas. Developed in partnership with global consultancy firm, McKinsey & Company, the Atlas provides a graphic illustration of the divide that persists between men and women across multiple sectors of society. The interactive tool helps to visualize where progress has been made for women’s representation in society, and where opportunities remain for advancing their participation in tertiary education, politics, and business.
You can watch the Reykjavík Global Forum – Women Leaders 2020 here. Dr. Banda’s participation begins at 2:39:40.