By Ann Charles, Baltic Review
On May 26, 2019, Lithuanians will elect a new President to replace a strong “woman in power”, Dalia Grybauskaite. Before leaving office following eight years as the first woman president of Lithuania, the powerful and sometimes controversial leader of the Baltic country that joined the United Nations on September 17, 1991, together with Estonia and Latvia, is destined for greatness no matter which road she follows.
Who will replace Dalia Gebauskaite is anybody’s guess, however, there’s a strong possibility that since all three Baltic countries have already had women presidents, the next president of Lithuania may be a woman, too. Economist Ingrida Simonyte, former Minister of Finance, will be running against Gitanas Nauseda, former banking economist, in the May 26 runoff elections for President. May the best candidate win!
In marking NATO’s 70th anniversary, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite stated, “for fifteen years now, we, too have been part of its historic time lines. Joining the Alliance was an explicit international recognition. A month later, we were accepted to the European Union. For Lithuania, it was a beautiful spring of major break throughs.”
In addition, she added, “it is a symbolic and historic coincidence that two organizations both of profound significance to our country were established in the same year, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters. Today’s celebration is a tribute to all freedom fighters as to independence ideals.” 70 years of NATO ideals. 70 years of NATO means seventy years of peace in Europe”
At the invitation of the President of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, Dalia Grybauskaite the President of Lithuania, took part in a high level meeting on “Women in Power”.
The meeting which was hosted by the President of the General Assembly, included the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the Presidents of Croatia, Estonia, Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago, the Prime Minister of Iceland, the Vice Presidents of Colombia and Panama, and the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy.
According to the President, currently there are only ten women presidents, and women account for only 24 percent of parliamentary members in the world. Globally, 37 percent are paid less for the same job. Experts suggest that it would take 202 years to close this gap.”
Lithuanian President Grybauskaite also attended the Council of Women World Leaders where she handed over the leadership to President Kolindar Graybar-Kitarovic of Croatia. As stated by the organization, “the change at the chair was scheduled before President Grybauskaite’s end of term in office.”
As explained by the Council of Women World Leaders, “the organization is a unique network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers. The aim of the council is to promote gender equality, women’s leadership, and participation in public life.”
Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has accepted an invitation to become a member of the Council, too. Kersti, according to the Council. “is the first female head of state and the country’s youngest President.” She has served as Estonia’s representative in the European Court of Auditors from 2004 until 2016, and has been the Chairperson of the Board at the University of Tartu. The Council is hosted by the UN Foundation.