On Wednesday the 21st of September Dilma Rousseff, the President of Brazil has become the first ever woman to open the General Assembly’s annual general debate. The Brazilian President told world leaders that women are now occupying the place they deserve in the world.
'For the first time in the history of the United Nations, a female voice opens the general debate. It is the voice of democracy and equality, reverberating from this, which has the commitment of being the most representative podium in the world. It is with personal humility, but with my justified pride as a woman, that I meet this historic moment.'
President Dilma Rousseff called on world leaders to work together to solve the global economic crisis which has already left 205 million people unemployed.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt emphasized the importance of now giving priority to closing the gender gap in every field in society, specifically in supporting women’s entrepreneurship and innovation.
Reinfeldt pointed out that ‘Closing the gap between male and female employment rates would have huge implications for the global economy. It would boost American GDP by as much as 9 per cent, Eurozone GDP by 13 per cent and Japanese GDP by 16 per cent.
But increased gender equality doesn't only have immediate economic benefits. It's also an investment for the future.
Moreover, when women take greater part in society - by shaping institutions or taking leading roles in politics or business life - there are clear improvements for the public good and less corruption. When they are present at the building of peace, results improve.
In short, I see gender equality not only as a crucial human rights issue, but also a question of smart economics.
I would urge all representatives sitting in this room: Imagine what it would mean in terms of economic growth for your countries if women were allowed to fully participate in society.’