by Vittoria Pellerito

The first of September 2021, the webinar of presentation of the book “4 out of 74 Women Trailblazers at the United Nations: about the four women who have been the Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly” was held in New York, organized by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations in New York in collaboration with UNWomen.

The book deals with the four women who have been Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA): Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Angie Elizabeth Brooks, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces. In this book are told their stories, the challenges they had to face in their career, but above all, the obstacles they had to overcome.

Many Permanent Representatives and Deputies of United Nations participated to the presentation of the book, moderated by Anita Bhatia. Central matter of the debate: the gender disparity. Historically, women have been excluded from public and political positions; even now there is the necessity to fight in order to obtain same opportunities than men, in any field.
The purpose of this book is to tell and to inspire, so many other women will undertake an independent career, without discrimination.
During the webinar, the Permanent Representative of Italy in United Nations Maurizio Massari underlined how sensitive is Italy about the promotion of women rights and gender equality, suggesting to talk about it more and to adopt adequate measures. He also shared a thought by Mariangela Zappia, Ambassador of Italy in United States; in the preface of the book, she addresses readers, asking: «Why have only four women been elected President of the UN General Assembly in the entire life of the organization?». There is still a lot of difference between men and women, especially in public and political ambit, but Italy, as many other countries, is mobilizing actively towards a positive growth, aspiring to obtain gender equality as soon as possible.
Promoter of the book, as well as its protagonist, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces wanted to encourage young women to keep fighting, “to fight indifference”.
Gender equality is a precondition, the basis of a society.
Thanks to women of the past, many objectives and developments were achieved, but only persevering and having a real impact on the society, it will be possible to extinguish this issue in the future.

During the event, there was talk about how Covid-19 emergency put a strain on women: considerable increase of domestic violence, unemployment, are some of the problems which necessitate meticulous attention. It is for this reason that, in the actual historical period, women have to talk out loud, together. A unique voice in order to contribute to accelerate gender equality. Now it’s the time to “push for change”.

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