A key driver for progress is Sustainable Development Goal target 5.5 on promoting and strengthening equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. Women leaders are making an impact across Asia Pacific. Women’s presence in local, state and national levels of government has influenced higher female voter turnout, increased gender sensitive policies and a stronger focus on improving social, health and safety services. In business, evidence is emerging to show that a higher proportion of women managers is significantly associated with an increase in profit.
Nevertheless, leadership also remains out of reach for too many women across Asia and the Pacific.
ESCAP, under the auspices of the UN Regional Coordination Mechanism Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, prepared a report on critical enablers for women’s leadership with a focus on its transformative impact on the societies. The report “Pathways to Influence: Promoting the Role of Women’s Transformative Leadership to Achieve the SDGs in Asia and the Pacific” highlights four key pathways to women’s transformative leadership, including growing consciousness and capabilities; accessing resources and opportunities; shaping and leveraging formal policies, laws and rules; transforming social norms and exclusionary practices. The report draws on research and data, as well as the journeys of 17 women leaders from 14 countries across the region to identify key factors that have enabled women leaders to inspire change in their diverse areas, ranging from disability, economic empowerment, grassroots community development, human rights and law, labour rights and trade unions, local governance, peace and security, public health, public sector reform, rural development and livelihoods, urban development and housing, women’s empowerment and youth.