Brundtland Emphasizes Female Leadership, Sustainable Development | WGLT

Brundtland Emphasizes Female Leadership, Sustainable Development

Apr 14, 2017

Dr. Gro Brundtland speaking to Illinois State University students in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center.
Credit Mike Miletich / WGLT

The First Female Prime Minister of Norway says every country should have equal opportunity for men or women to become leaders. 

Speaking during an Adlai E. Stevenson Memorial Lecture Series Master Class at Illinois State University, Dr. Gro Brundtland said she knew as a young girl that she lived in a good democratic country, but it wasn't dealing on equal terms for men and women.

Brundtland said she was determined to make a change.

"Women have to be able to be both workers and mothers," said Brundtland. "They have to be participating fully in our democracy and in our political work."

Brundtland became involved in political activism when she enrolled in the Norwegian Labor Movement at the age of seven. She is still a member of the movement and led the Labor Party to victory in elections three times. 

Brundtland served five years as Norway's Minister of the Environment before becoming Prime Minister. She also chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development that popularized the concept of sustainable development.

The guest speaker stressed that world leaders need to come together to make sure every country has strong sustainable development. Brundtland said developed countries are dealing with their own issues right now, but poorer countries need help to catch up. She said there should have been more resources going out to developing countries in the past. 

"Of course one reason why it has been more difficult than what it looked like, if we go ten year back, is of course the financial crisis that came in 2008 and 2009," said Brundtland. 

Brundtland said the issue needs to be overcome by mobilizing sufficient resources.

Brundtland received her master's degree in public health from Harvard University. She also served as U.N. special envoy on climate change from 2007 to 2010.

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