REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė, who chairs the Council of Women World Leaders, is attending the Women Political Leaders Global Summit “We Can Do It!” in Iceland. The conference that brings together over 300 women parliament members from almost 100 countries, including the Presidents of Estonia, Malta, and Croatia, focuses on ways to end violence against women and empower women to participate in politics and innovative economy.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė received Women Political Leaders award for merits in promoting active role of women in politics.
In her opening address, the President underscored that women had to be freed from violence at home, at work and in the streets. They experience atrocities and violence not only in the war zone. For millions of women in the world as well as in Lithuania, domestic violence turns their own home into the most dangerous war zone. The recent harassment scandals that came to the surface revealed how deeply rooted the culture of violence against women was.
Therefore, according to Dalia Grybauskaitė, each woman who has the courage to speak about the experienced violence helps to break the wall of silence and fear. The President encouraged women not to reconcile themselves to violence and not to remain silent; she encouraged the world leaders to unite and end violence against women at national, regional and international level.
The President underscored that each country had to do its homework in protecting women from violence. Everything begins with national legislation that must protect women from discrimination and domestic violence. To this end, a strong political will is paramount.
According Dalia Grybauskaitė, people’s attitude is important in combating sexism and harassment. It is necessary to end blaming victims and ensure that victims of harassment have a safe access to assistance and that cases of harassment are effectively investigated rather than concealed.
In the world and in Lithuania, one in three women has experienced physical, psychological and sexual violence. In Lithuania, the number of femicide by intimate partner is among the highest in the European Union. In Lithuania, Law on Protection against Domestic Violence has been in effect for already six years. During this time, the number of reports filed on domestic violence went up more than threefold – from 18 to 66 thousand per year. This is the sign that people do not live with violence and find the courage to seek help. Combating domestic violence is one of the key aims of the nationwide social campaign “For a Safe Lithuania” that was launched by the President.
Dalia Grybauskaitė also invited women leaders to come to Lithuania next year. In June, Vilnius will host an international high-level conference to mark the centenary of the restored state of Lithuania as well as the centenary of women’s suffrage in Lithuania as it was among the first in Europe to grant women voting rights.
In Reykjavík, the President who chairs the Council of Women World Leaders also congratulated the former President of Iceland Vigdís Finnbogadóttir who became the world’s first democratically elected woman president in 1980. Iceland is a global front-runner in gender equality in economics, politics, education and health care.
In Iceland, the conference is held in collaboration with the Council of Women World Leaders, chaired by Dalia Grybauskaitė, and the Parliament of Iceland. The United Nations, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Harvard University have joined as partners of this event.