Canada co-hosts landmark International Women’s Day event at NATO HQ

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NATO Ambassadors choose their International Women’s Day messages.

International Women’s Day messages 

Admiral Davidson

Canada and Iceland co-hosted a landmark International Women's Day event at NATO HQ. NATO Allies and partner nations attended a high level panel to hear perspectives on engaging leadership on gender equality. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Icelandic Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson opened the event in which all NATO Allies and partner nations attended.

Secretary General Stoltenberg conveyed an important message about the strong link between gender equality and security, highlighting also that NATO is an Alliance of values - that gender equality is fundamental to liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

“We were proud to partner with Iceland to host this NATO event – the first of its kind.  Canada and Iceland’s leadership in promoting gender equality was recognized at NATO headquarters; from the Secretary General and military leaders, to all participating Allies and partner nations. I was very pleased with the enthusiastic support and open discussions we are sure will help to improve gender equality within the Alliance.”
- Kerry Buck, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council

Speakers Gary Barker of the Promundo, an organization that works on promoting the role of men in gender justice and gender equality; Michelle Barsa of the Institute for Inclusive Security; and Ambassador Mara Marinaki, Principal Advisor to the EU on Gender and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325, provided insight on how leaders can engage to improve gender equality and integrate a gender perspective in NATO's work. The Deputy Secretary General, Alexander Vershbow, concluded that engaging women in finding long-term solutions to conflicts is key, which requires gender-consciousness in programming. He underlined there is still a lot of work to be done in advancing gender equality and increasing women in leadership roles - and that this would require a culture change at NATO.

Following the panel, Ambassadors, Military Representatives, NATO international and Military Staff and many others sent out messages on social media on how they support gender equality. This event demonstrated that increasing women's participation at NATO and applying a gender lens in operations and partner support is in our shared interest for building an even more effective organization.

NATO Allies and partner nations attending a high level panel.