Wednesday, October 5, 2022

HomeVoicesLet’s change perspective and celebrate the infinite potential in women

Let’s change perspective and celebrate the infinite potential in women

International Women’s Day is a special day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

Change perspective! This is a slogan of the International Women Day’s campaign of the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum.

The Women in Energy Association (WONY) is happy to support this crucial initiative as a partner. We are demonstrating alliance and calling for action to raise awareness about female representation in leadership. In the framework of the campaign, we created an interactive installation that shows the number 8, but by joint efforts, it turns into an infinity sign. We believe that women deserve infinite opportunities, including taking leadership positions.

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This alliance is very much needed. Today, only 8 per cent of the top 50 companies in Hungary has female CEOs. According to the Gender Diversity Report made by WONY and BCG in 2018, the number of female top leaders in the regional energy sector is even lower, only 4 per cent.

Working together, we will be stronger and have a greater impact to make the necessary changes and give women the opportunity to lead. We all strongly believe that the unlimited power of women can inspire and provide a wealth of success to the energy industry, as well as to other sectors. Diversity in the boardrooms leads to competitiveness and can contribute to improvements. Therefore, having women in leadership positions should become the norm, not the exception. Women’s power is needed to overcome the huge challenges ahead of us, such as the energy transition.

Change perspective! This slogan – in the shadow of the events of the past weeks – undoubtedly goes beyond its original meaning.

On this day, while we celebrate women all around the world, war is raging in our neighbourhood. We can’t ignore women fleeing the war zone with their children, leaving behind their husbands who are fighting for their country. We can’t forget the mothers on both sides who lose their sons in this war and the female soldiers who risk their lives for their homeland.

This Women’s Day is about them. It must be about them.

And perhaps also about the role that women can play in the resolution of an international conflict.

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Ukrainian refugees arriving at the border between Ukraine and Moldova. Photo: Dan Gutu/European Union 2022.

UN Executive Director Sima Bahous emphasised that women’s full and meaningful participation is also vital to improving peace and security processes.

“The inclusion of women themselves in the decision-making processes and humanitarian response is therefore essential to ensure that their rights are upheld,” she said.

Some years ago, a survey proved that management bodies with diverse and gender-balanced leadership perform better in crisis situations. I am sure that we would need this right now.

Nobody wants gender equality in war because nobody wants war, but I think many of us, as the UN Executive Director want to see more women in peace and security processes. It’s pointless to contemplate now: What would have happened only if?. Still, I’m almost certain that only men were sitting at the table where the final decision on the war was made. I only hope that women will be involved in the peace negotiations. And not just in this process but also in what comes next. It is already clear that whatever the end of the conflict will be, it will have a huge impact on the European economy and, within that, on energy. Especially for Central and Eastern European countries.

The crisis will not end any time soon, more and more economic challenges must be solved, new strategies must be developed and well-proven roadmaps must be redrawn. Of course, the near future may also offer new positive opportunities, or even accelerate favourable processes such as the green energy transition.

It would be a big mistake to miss women out of all this.

Now there is a special moment of history when it can be changed. Gentlemen! Make smart decisions and involve women in decision-making processes! Believe me, you will also profit from this and the whole society will be better off with balanced decision-making.

Change perspective! Let’s make this year’s International Women’s Day not only about words but also about actions!

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Refugees from Ukraine cross the border into Poland. Photo: Bartosz Siedlik/European Union 2022.

International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to fundraise for female-focused charities, help raise their visibility and amplify their awareness-raising efforts. We can all help forge women’s equality by donating to a charity or non-profit that works for the advancement of women and girls. Donating to these groups means reducing inequality and supporting their important work.

Now the most imminent task is to address the burgeoning needs of Ukrainian women who had to flee their homes and separate from their loved ones and those who stayed to provide humanitarian support in extremely difficult circumstances and at great risk.

UN Women is working closely with women’s civil society organisations, the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team in monitoring the situation to determine how to best continue to deliver on the ground. If you would like to help their mission you can donate here.

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