The Minister for Tourism, Gilbert Licudi QC once again introduced the Gibraltar Lecture at this year’s FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival on Friday 4th April.

The Lecture was delivered by entrepreneur, author and equality campaigner Paola Diana who makes a passionate case for more women at the top of politics and economics. She questions why countries in which women have achieved political, economic and social rights ignore the cause in countries where women are left behind.

In introducing the lecture, Mr Licudi said:

“The Gibraltar lecture has been a feature of the Oxford Literary Festival for a number of years. This is part of a series of events aimed at promoting our own literary festival held in November of each year.

This year we are delighted that Paola Diana has agreed to deliver the Gibraltar lecture and also to come to our own literary festival.

The title is a bold one:

Saving the World. Women: The 21st Century’s Factor for Change

This begs the question whether in the 21st century we should still be talking about gender equality or gender inequality.

The answer is that unfortunately we must.

Only today, a BBC analysis has been published on the gender pay gap in the UK.

It shows, incredibly, that in the last year in 45% of UK firms the gender pay gap has widened in favour of men.

There are now 78% of companies in the UK with a pay gap in favour of men.

The figures are for the UK.

Imagine what happens in the rest of the world - particularly in developing countries.

The gender pay gap is, of course, just one aspect of gender inequality.

So there is much work to be done.

And that is why the work of people like Paola Diana is so important.

Paola is an entrepreneur, writer and equality campaigner.

She has described the conditions of women and girls worldwide as an enormous social emergency.

She puts the case not just about equality between men and women being right - but about the huge positive impact that gender quality has on society as a whole.

And, importantly, about women in political and economic leadership being standard bearers for change.”

Mr Licudi added: “The 7th Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival will be held in November and we are already looking forward to an exciting lineup. We are grateful to the Gibunco Group for their commitment to the Festival and their support at Oxford and Blenheim with the Gibraltar Lec- tures. I would like to thank all our sponsors and partners that help make the Festival a success.