Why is it important to invest in women leaders to achieve the 2030 Agenda? What are some good examples of how women leaders are building partnerships for the Goals? How are the SDGs relevant in politics, private sector, philanthropy, and open science?

These were core questions dealt with on July 17th, 2023, during the high-level panel discussion “Inspiring Female Leadership for the Global Goals”, co-organized by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, and the Ban Ki-moon Foundation. The event brought together high-level women leaders from government, the private sector, philanthropy, and academia to share their insights on the role of women leaders in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Following opening remarks by Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger (Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York) panel discussion commenced with a powerful quote, “You cannot be what you cannot see,” highlighting the importance of visible female leaders as role models.

H.E. Karoline Edtstadler, Austrian Federal Minister for the EU and Constitution, delivered a keynote stressing the need for women to take their place in powerful positions and drive positive change. She emphasized the positive impact of women in leadership roles, referring to a recent survey featured in Forbes on women leadership. The findings indicated that female leaders generally outperform their male counterparts and provide for a more inclusive work environment.

Moderated by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler, panelists Lisa Gugenheim (Director of the American Museum of Natural History), Karen Choi (Portfolio Manager at Capital Group) and Cecilia Garza (Director Donor Initiatives & President’s Fund at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund) spoke about the importance of education in creating an informed citizenry, the need for sustainable investment and diverse perspectives in decision-making processes, the role of philanthropy and the unique leadership style of women that fosters collaboration and inclusivity.

During the Q&A session, the speakers engaged with the audience on topics such as inclusive language, women’s influence on artificial intelligence for greater gender equality, and empowering women leaders in diverse political landscapes.


While there is still a long way to go, Austria has worked hard towards implementing the Agenda 2030. The BKMC was proud to announce the launch of a new publication with the Austrian Federal Chancellery titled “Austria’s Commitment to the 2030 Agenda”. It showcases Austria’s efforts in spreading knowledge, raising awareness and strengthening partnerships for the SDGs.


Read the publication here: https://bankimooncentre.org/austria4sdgs

The discussion concluded with a call for determination, unity, and support for women and girls as catalysts for change. Attendees were inspired to empower women and girls to take up leadership roles and collaborate for transformative progress to achieve the SDGs, ensuring a better future for all.



Watch a recording of the event here.

Read the event summary here

Flick through our photo album for more impressions here.