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Panel discussion on Women in Leadership organized by New Zealand and UNITAR


Statement by Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, Permanent Representative

Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is an honor to stand before you today as an ambassador of our country, not just in my official capacity, but as a proponent of an idea whose time has come – the empowerment and leadership of women.

As we gather here, I am reminded of the words of the great American poet Maya Angelou, who said, "Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women." These words are not just a rallying cry; they are a testament to the ripple effect of empowering women in leadership roles.

Throughout history, women have been the backbone of societies, often working behind the scenes, unrecognized. Yet, in recent times, we've witnessed a remarkable transformation. Women are no longer just participants; they are leaders, innovators, and pioneers shaping our world.

Consider the formidable New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who said, “One of the criticisms I've faced over the years is that I'm not aggressive enough or assertive enough, or maybe somehow, because I'm empathetic, I'm weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.” Ardern exemplifies how women leaders can blend empathy with decisiveness, a blend that is reshaping leadership paradigms.

In the corridors of power, in boardrooms, in science and technology, women are not just filling seats – they are creating new tables. They are challenging the status quo, bringing diverse perspectives and innovative solutions to the most pressing problems of our times.

However, this journey is far from over. The path to leadership for many women is fraught with systemic barriers, cultural stereotypes, and unequal opportunities. As leaders, it is our responsibility to dismantle these barriers. As the famous feminist, Gloria Steinem, once said, “The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”


Today, I call upon each one of you, irrespective of your gender, to be champions of this cause. Let us create environments where young girls and women can dream without boundaries, where they can aspire to leadership roles without the fear of bias or discrimination.

In conclusion, let us remember the words of former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who famously said, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." Let's work together, not just as colleagues, but as allies in the quest for a more equitable and just world, where women in leadership is not an exception, but a norm.


Thank you