GWF Dubai, Day 2 LIVE: Power of empowering women

24 Feb 2016


Though a small majority in the Arab world have portrayed Islam as a barrier to women's empowerment, it is in fact a great example for promoting gender equality.

"Islam has always given women rights, status and choices in society. Centuries ago Muslim women were seen trading, farming.they were, and still are, warriors," Queen Rania of Jordan said on the opening day of the Global Women's Forum Dubai on Tuesday.

The two-day event, which concludes today, marks the first time the forum has been held in this region.Addressing the 2,000 attendees at the forum, Queen Rania said the UAE perfectly embodies equal rights in the representation of its women.

"There is no better place than the UAE to inspire people to innovate, and no better place to inspire the world to empower women," she said.The Arab world represents many examples of powerful women in science, politics, business, and arts.These women are "no longer limited by a cocoon", she said, but some challenges still remain.

A society's expectation of its women will determine its growth and success as a country, and to fully succeed, some mindsets need to change."Changing laws on women's rights takes time, but it takes generations to change perceptions. We have to fight the people trying to throw us back in time. The urgency is time."She said societies need to push forward and make use of the tools it has, in particular, digital space."Surrounding us today are hundreds of women who represent gen-der empowerment and we now have the technologies to make further gains in women empowerment."Queen Rania said it is up to both men and women to use the powerful reach of social media to spread the message of women empowerment.

What Shaikh Zayed taught us

Making reference to the recent appointment of two young female ministers in the UAE, she said the UAE should continue doing what it is doing.

"If you empower women, you empower a whole society."Following Queen Rania's speech, Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said women empowerment is "not about window dressing"."What Shaikh Zayed taught us is that if we are serious and keen on developing our society, we cannot exclude anyone or anything."He said it is imperative we develop "both people and ideas", and that includes women.

"When it comes to the ongoing global issues surrounding women empowerment, the fault is not the lack of roles women play in society, it is the fault of those who lack in allowing women to play a role in society." More than 2,000 thought leaders and decision makers from both the private and public sectors around the world arrived in Dubai to attend the global dialogue on women's participation, workplace diversity and gender balance at the Global Women's Forum Dubai.

The forum is being held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and is led by Shaikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment and wife of Shaikh Man-sour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs of the UAE.

Steps Count:

Download the GWFD App on Android and iOS to take part in the Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative benefiting Dubai Cares to help educate 1,000 girls in Pakistan, Philippines, Malawi, Mozambique and South Sudan. Using the pedometer feature, walk 3,5000 steps during GWFD to educate a girl for one year.

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