About the Meeting

About the Meeting

A Special Meeting of Women Ministers of Culture will be held on 29-30 August 2005, in Reykjavík, Iceland, in honour of former President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir and to celebrate her 75th birthday. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, who served as President of the Republic from 1980 to 1996, was the first woman in the world to be elected Head of State in a democratic, national election. This Special Meeting of Women Ministers of Culture is jointly organized by the Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, and the Council of Women World Leaders, in cooperation with the Icelandic Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and External Trade.

The objective for the August meeting is to bring together, for the first time, women ministers of culture from all over the world to explore the serious challenges women ministers face. The Special Meeting of Women Ministers of Culture will address the effects cultural trends have on gender equality, the opportunities and problems involved in cultural customs, and possibilities for working together. Governments and multilateral institutions have at all policy levels responded far too slowly to women's views and needs, often reflecting cultural norms of inequality.

At the Special Meeting, the intention is to create a dialogue between ministers as well as a platform for considering means of collectively advancing our work, both nationally and internationally. The impact of culture on the status of women is a primary focus.

The prospective benefits of this unique meeting include the following:

  • Discovering specific ways in which Women Ministers of Culture can cooperate, in order to share best practices derived from the experience of developing and developed countries and to form a powerful, united force for policy change, with a focus on gender, at a regional, national, and global level.
  • Formulating a joint statement by Women Ministers of Culture, highlighting the importance of including women's perspectives on the global agenda, which can then be shared with male ministers of culture, UNESCO, and other important organizations.