DUBAI, TGO: UN Women and the General Women’s Union (GWU) have hosted a top-level summit on UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) and achieving gender equality for all women and girls in celebration of International Women’s Day 2022.
The summit saw high-level representation from UAE and regional private and government sectors, led by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, who delivered the opening remarks on behalf of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation.
Delivering on behalf of Sheikha Fatima, Sheikh Nahyan said that Her Highness commended the high-level participation at the summit, calling on all stakeholders to continue working together for a sustainable future, leveraging knowledge, culture, science, and advanced technology.
The one-day summit focused on the role of the private sector in overcoming barriers and advancing opportunities for women’s economic empowerment.
Held a day after International Women’s Day at Expo 2020 Dubai, the event featured high-level panel discussions and presentations on facilitating access to finance, women’s entrepreneurship and advancing women’s representation and leadership within the private sector. Featured speakers included senior executives from multinational companies and organisations, including Unilever, Deloitte Middle East, Manpower Group Middle East, PwC and Zayed University.
Chief and senior executives from various industries highlighted key actions to accelerate progress in workplaces and economies through culture transformation, leadership, access to finance, and entrepreneurship. Discussions included transforming commitments to actions, adapting to challenges that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic and presentations on advancing and enabling women’s leadership roles and representation within the private sector.
The participants also engaged in a session on gender-lens investment in the MENA region, focusing on funding for small and medium women-owned enterprises.
Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, GWU Secretary-General, said, “The UAE continuous successes in achieving gender balance across all sectors and levels reflect the national priority of this important agenda. It translates the vision and directives of the wise leadership to enhance the social, economic, and political participation of women.
She added that the country’s directives affirm that gender balance in all sectors is a consistent approach, an integral part of the UAE’s vision, and a national priority alongside achieving the objectives of SDG5.
Anita Bhatia, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, said, “Closing pay gaps could boost per capita income in emerging markets by 20 percent or more by 2030. Women comprise 49.6 percent of the world’s population but make up only 40.8 percent of the formal global labour market. This is untapped economic and productive potential.
“As UN Women, we know that the case for women’s economic empowerment adds up – and the only way to move is forward,” she noted.
Members of international organisations, academia, media, civil society, and women’s organisations attended and participated in the summit, including signatories of the Women Empowerment Principle, members of the Stereotype Alliance, partners of UN Women worldwide to address cultural and economic barriers as well as opportunities and commitments to deliver progress on SDG5.
Other keynote speakers included Princess Lolwa Al Faisal bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees and General Supervisor of Effat University; and Dena Assaf, the UN Resident Coordinator for the UAE; Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Establishment; and Andrea Fontana, European Union Ambassador to the UAE.
Globally, UN Women marked International Women’s Day 2022 under the headline “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, highlighting that women are essential, effective, and powerful leaders and change-makers to address climate adaptation, mitigation, and solutions.