Global Women’s Forum a first for the Middle East

22 Feb 2016

World leaders will gather in Dubai on Tuesday for the Middle East’s first Global Women’s Forum, where stereotypes of Arab women will be dispelled and their achievements promoted.

More than 2,000 participants and 200 speakers over the two days will work to boost women’s influence, design plans to encourage their greater contribution and promote diversity in the business world.

Speakers include Queen Rania of Jordan, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, Mauritian president Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund.

Also speaking will be Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance.

“The Global Women’s Forum Dubai is a crucial platform for showcasing exceptionally skilled Arab women across a variety of sectors, and demonstrating the achievements of these remarkable women,” said Shamsa Saleh, chief executive of Dubai Women’s Establishment.

“We’re very excited to be bringing this unique initiative to the Mena region for the first time, highlighting the inspiring stories of women on the global stage and recognising their efforts to make an impact in the workplace and our communities.”

Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, president of the DWE, said the forum would involve leading thinkers from business, government and society in “a global exchange of ideas related to gender diversity, female engagement and women’s contribution to societies”.

“I am confident these interactions will bring many breakthrough ideas and practical solutions to pressing issues,” Sheikha Manal said. “I also believe these discussions will have a far-reaching impact, inspiring and empowering future generations of women to make more positive contributions to social and economic development.”

Mona Al Marri, chairwoman of the DWE, said hosting the forum reflected the UAE’s priority to advance the empowerment of women.

“The Global Women’s Forum Dubai has created a space where thought leaders and trailblazers in the field of women’s advancement can share ideas in an empowering, connected and inspiring environment,” Ms Al Marri said.

It will include a session on the importance of financial literacy delivered by Hana Al Rostamani, head of consumer banking at First Gulf Bank.

“The forum is a milestone event for women across this region – women who are working hard to fulfil the role they have to play in the development of the economy and our society,” Ms Al Rostamani said.

“We’re looking forward to providing support and guidance to women aspiring to progress and succeed in the business world.”

The forum is based on the theme of innovation through achieving, creating, giving, energising and sustaining.

Twitter will also introduce its global initiative #PositionOfStrength, designed to educate and advise women in under-represented communities. The forum’s official hashtag is #GWFDubai.

Ms Saleh said the social media campaign would help to break down stereotypes about the Arab world.

“Twitter’s initiative will be a crucial platform for female Arab voices to be heard across the world, helping to break down inaccurate stereotypes of women in the Middle East, inspire women to voice their opinions globally and encourage them to become successful online influencers,” she said.

The forum will be held at Madinat Jumeirah.

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