Voices from the Field Series: Slovakia

03.05.2021 | Jeff Lightfoot

CIPE staff members serve in the field year-round, helping launch and maintain programs to promote democracy and free enterprise. As the world marks International Women’s Day on March 8, our Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment (CWEE) asked several staff members to discuss the impact of their work in empowering and promoting women’s initiatives around the globe.

Why do you believe empowering women is important? 

Empowering women is important from CIPE’s perspective for the simple reason that it is good economics. Women account for half of the world’s global population. Underinvestment in women’s education, advancement opportunities, and economic inclusion is not just a question of fairness or social justice; it is a question of empowering societies to achieve their maximum potential through full inclusion and representation in political, economic, and social structures.

Tell us a story of hope or change that you have seen in your work empowering women in your country. 

Slovak politics remains largely dominated by men. However, the election of President Zuzana Caputova in 2019 was an important moment in the country’s history and an inspiration to so many women in the region. Not only because she is a woman but also because of her principled work on environmental issues and previous experience in driving change at a local level.

Who is a woman leader who inspires you and why? 

I have a great deal of admiration for Christine Lagarde, currently President of the European Central Bank. She has broken glass ceilings on both sides of the Atlantic at every level, in often male-dominated worlds of law, politics, and banking. She was the first woman Chair of Baker McKenzie; Minister of Finance of France; Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; and now she is President of the ECB. She radiates technical competence and is a fantastic communicator and relationship builder.

Why is it important to celebrate International Women’s Day? 

It is important to celebrate International Women’s Day to pay tribute to women leaders who have served as trailblazers for generations to follow; to take stock of progress made in empowering women in all elements of society; and to identify areas we are falling short and where progress needs to continue to be made.