Silvana participated in the Side Event “Power of Parity – Parity of Power: Why and how to increase the number of women in political leadership”, hosted by the Women in Parliaments Global Forum (WIP) and the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations, on 14th March, during the 2016 UN CSW in New York.

The side event surrounded the theme of political leadership. According to the UN, currently almost 80% of Parliamentarians are male, there are still 37 States in which men account for more than 90% of Parliamentarians, and as of August 2015, only 11 women serve as Head of State and 10 as Head of Government. This is an issue of vital importance, as there is clear evidence to show that greater diversity and equality create stronger leadership and better governance. WIP is currently running the WIP Leadership Campaign, where male Presidents and Prime Ministers give their personal testimonial by completing the sentence: “We need more women in Parliaments and as political leaders because…”. The campaign has elicited an astounding response, with over 50 world leaders from all continents contributing to date. The side event referred to the testimonials made and involved high-level statements from the speakers during the panel discussion. The session was conducive for exploring positive areas for debate on why and how we should increase the number of women in political leadership.

The Panel for the event featured Ms Elke Ferner, State Secretary for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth for Germany, Ms Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Ms Linda Lanzillotta, Vice-President of the Italian Senate, Ms Penny Abeywardena, New York City Commissioner for International Affairs, Mr Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs for UNDESA and Ms Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The session was moderated by Ms Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Founder and Chairperson of WIP and former Vice-President of the European Parliament.