Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, attended the opening session of Global Women’s Forum Dubai, GWFD 2020, which kicked-off on Sunday in the Emirate.
He was accompanied at the event by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.
The opening session featured addressed by David Malpass, World Bank Group President; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the U.S. President.
Also attending the event were Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Sheikha Manal bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment, and wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikha Latifa bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum,Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority; Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future; Obaid bin Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board and Managing Director of Dubai Women Establishment, and a number of ministers and senior officials.
In her opening speech, Ivanka Trump thanked H.H. Sheikh Mohammed for his ‘commitment to advancing women’s economic participation across Dubai and the broader United Arab Emirates’. She commended Emirati leaders for ‘removing barriers to women joining the workforce and developing a national strategy that recognizes that women are central to sustainable growth’.
She noted that last year, more than 70 percent of Emirati university graduates were women. She also commended key countries in the MENA region for instituting significant reforms over the past two years.
‘Saudi Arabia has changed laws to respect women’s freedom of movement and access to credit and financial services. Bahrain introduced legislation to prevent discrimination in the workplace. Jordan eliminated legal restrictions on women’s ability to work at night. Morocco expanded women’s land rights and Tunisia introduced laws to combat domestic violence. We applaud these advancements’, she said.
However, she stressed that there is still much more work to be done. ‘Too many women continue to face obstacles to entering the workforce, starting their own businesses, reaching their full potential, and charting their own future. In the Middle East and North Africa, on average, women have only half the legal rights of men. In this region alone, women’s economic equality has the potential to add US$600 billion to global annual GDP by 2025’, Trump said.
‘That number represents far more than an economic boom – it represents millions of lives full of promise – mothers who could provide for their children, daughter who could be the first to graduate high school, and young women who could start business and become job creators. This is the future we can and must achieve together’, she pointed out.
‘Today, we come together to ask the nations of this region to continue to work with us, to break new ground, and to institute changes, legally and culturally, that will give every woman the chance to determine her own destiny and to bring greater peace and prosperity to this region and the world’, she told the audience.
In his opening remarks, David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, said, ‘We estimate that in MENA, increasing female labour-force participation to the levels of men could boost regional GDP by 47 percent. Currently, $575 billion in regional income is lost because of gender-based discrimination in laws, social norms and practices that constrain women’s nights and opportunities. Fortunately, more countries recognize that their economies can only reach their full potential with the full participation of both and men’.
He said the World Bank has been working on two key areas; laws and regulations and broadening access to finance. ‘We need to work towards having laws, policies, and regulations that empower women to succeed in the economy. The World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law report tracks eight indicators for women – from entering the workforce to living in retirement – across 190 economies’.
‘MENA has historically had the lowest average score on the report’s index. However, this year, the region the most progress. Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria and Bahrain made a number of reforms. The UAE and Saudi Arabia, in particular, made the most reforms. Since 2015, the UAE has pushed for legislative reforms, including equal pay and female representation in corporate boardrooms. In Saudi Arabia, laws changed to protect women from employment discrimination and to prohibit employers from dismissing a woman during pregnancy and maternity leave’, he said Malpass also underlined the need for broadening access to finance and markets: He noted that globally, the financial gap for women – led businesses is $1.5 trillion.
The opening session also saw Kristalina Geirgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund engaging in a discussion with John Defterios of CNN. She said, ‘We owe the UAE a debt of gratitude’ for its achievement in women’s empowerment’.
Georgieva noted that ‘big chunks of the world don’t known that’, and stressed on the need to amplify the message that ‘the tide is turning for women in the Middle East’.
Speaking about the impact of greater gender equality, the IMF Managing Director noted, ‘If tomorrow we woke up in a world with 100 percent gender equality, the wealth of the world would be, according to the most recent data, $172 trillion bigger. We would be a much richer world. If we are to bring the Middle East on par with the more advanced economies, over the next years, there would be $ 1 trillion more in output’.
Answering a question on the impact of the Novel Coronavirus epidemic on the Chinese economy, she said, ‘It is too early to say. We don’t yet know what is the nature of this virus. We don’t know how whether it will spread to the rest of the world. But what we do know is that it is going to affect global value chains. It is affecting tourism and travel. If it is contained rapidly, there can be a sharp drop and then a very rapid rebound, what is known as a V-curve. We’re very much hopping this is going to be the case’.
China has been slowing down naturally, she noted. However, Georgieva continued, ‘as a result of the reduction in trade tensions, with the Phase 1 trade agreement signed between U.S. and China, we actually have been predicting some improvement for 2020. The bottom line is, we are in a world with more uncertainty. We have to build more predictability to counter this uncertainty. The virus, we cannot predict. But interest rates or how we are going to go about trade, that is something in our hands’.
‘China today has a much bigger share of the global economy than during the SARS epidemic. If things go bad for China, that is not good news for the rest of the world. But they are working very hard to contain the epidemic’, she said.
‘For now, we are saying that our forecast is 3.3 percent growth for the global economy’, she said. ‘There could be a cut. We are hoping that it would be between 0.1-0.2. percent. I wish I could look at the crystal ball. There is still a great deal of uncertainty’, she added.
Earlier, Mona Al Marri, delivered the welcome note at the opening session. ‘The theme of this Forum, ‘The Power of Influence’, captures the essence of H.H.Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s vision to elevate the status of women across all sectors and levels. This mission has been transformed into a reality through the creation of the UAE Gender Balance Council and Dubai Women Establishment, led by Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’, she said.
‘Whether it is through ideas, actions or new partnerships, we can shift perspectives, exchange knowledge and shape policies that further women’s positive impact around the world, building our influence to influence to inspire families, communities and even entire nations. Since the foundation of the UAE 48 years ago, our leadership’s vision has guided the country in establishing itself as a global model for rapid progress in women’s empowerment and gender balance. The UAE’s experience in accelerating women’s participation in the society and economy serves as an inspirational reference for countries seeking to transform the environment for women. We are confident that we will see greater achievements in the years to come’, she said.
The second edition of the Global Women’s Forum Dubai, organized by the Dubai Women Establishment runs on 16th and 17th February under the theme, ‘The Power of Influence’, highlighting dynamic women across governments and the business world, as well as their significant impact and valuable contributions across the global economy and society.
Over 100 leaders and experts from across the world come together to engage in constructive dialogue on the advancement of women at the two-day Forum. More than 3,000 delegates from 87 countries are expected to attend over 60 workshops and sessions.
Even Less Than Recommended Amounts Of Caffeine While Pregnant Could Impact Your Child’s Life
Starting the day with a hot cup of caffeinated coffee or tea may sound divine to some, but it could have negative impacts on the children of people who are pregnant, according to a new study. Children who were exposed to small amounts of caffeine before birth were found on average to be shorter than…
Princess Mary Of Denmark Epitomizes Royal Elegance For A Charity Event
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark appeared every inch the glamorous royal as she attended an event held in honour of UNICEF. The Danish princess arrived at the 60th anniversary of the UNICEF Supply Division in Copenhagen wearing a burgundy Alexander McQueen Blazer on top of a black ensemble. Known for her love of ultra-chic tailoring,…
New York Flower Show Celebrates ‘Remarkable Women’
NEW YORK – Thousands of flowers in brilliant hues of pink, purple, blue, orange, and yellow greeted visitors at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards in New York City for the Fleurs de Villes FEMMES floral show. ‘We’re so thrilled to be back here for our third show at Hudson Yards. And we’re bringing our FEMME show, which…
Spain Lauds Queen Letizia’s Modernizing Role As She Turns 50
PARIS, France – Spain’s Queen Letizia turned 50 on Thursday. It’s only a birthday but Spain is taking the opportunity to assess its scarred monarchy and ponder how the arrival of a middle-class commoner may help shake up one of Europe’s most storied royal dynasties into a modern and more palatable institution. Divorced and a…
‘Important Work Can’t Wait For Tomorrow’: Meghan’s First UK Speech Since Royal Departure
LONDON – The Duchess of Sussex made her first public address in the UK yesterday since stepping down as a senior royal in 2020. Meghan addressed audience at the opening ceremony for One Young World in Manchester, where young leaders from more than 190 countries were present to listen to a number of notable figures…
Your Taste Preferences Could Be Down To Your Genes, A New Study Reveals
Olives, chilies, anchovies, tofu, sushi, liquorice, blue cheese, mushrooms and mayonnaise. Are you a fan of all these foods? It would be very surprising if you were. But why do people love certain foods and turn their noses up at others? A new study reveals that the reason is not just to do with people’s…
Prince William And Kate’s Children To Start New School Near Windsor
LONDON – The three young children of Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate are to start at a new school next month, his office announced on Monday, as the family prepare to move to a new home on his grandmother Queen Elizabeth’s Windsor Castle estate. Prince George and Louis, aged 9 and 4, and…
3 Surprising Bad Things That Can Happen If You Eat Many Nuts
PARIS, France – You already know nuts are incredibly healthy. The crunchy snack is associated with better heart health, lower cholesterol, and even weight loss. ‘The benefits of nuts definitely outweigh any other drawbacks or cons’, says Jerlyn Jones, R.D.N., L.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of The Lifestyle Dietitian.…
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry Set To Visit UK And Germany For Charity Events
PARIS, France – Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are returning to the United Kingdom. The royal couple is ‘delighted’ to work with several charities ‘close to their hearts’ in early September, a spokesperson for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed to Fox News Digital. Harry and Markle will travel to the northern English city…
The Duke Of Sussex Files Second Lawsuit Over Police Protection Battle
LONDON – The Duke of Sussex, who now resides principally in the U.S., has been engaged in a drawn – out dispute over whether he is entailed to pay for his own police protection when visiting the U.K. Earlier this summer, he was granted permission to bring a High Court challenge against the Home Office…