DUBAI: The empowerment of women in leadership positions around the world continues to lag behind, with too few governments taking steps to encourage women leaders, says a senior UAE minister.
Ohoud Al-Roumi, Minister for Development in the Government of the United Arab Emirates, made the statement during a session titled “Women in Government: Shaping a Better Future for the World” at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Monday.
In her address, Al-Roumi called for greater female representation in leadership and for more women to have a central role in discussions of global issues.
“We can’t just have a conversation about our world without putting women at the center of the conversation,” she said, citing figures that show women make up just 26.1% of parliamentary seats and 22 .6% of ministerial positions worldwide.
“We need more women leading governments everywhere. The current rate of progress is simply not enough.
Al-Roumi said it was essential to amplify the impact of women. She used her own journey from the private sector to government as a lesson in how the fears of women – and also men – can be overcome.
“I enrolled in a leadership program and was mentored by both men and women, which allowed me to thrive in my current role,” she said.
“Support is needed to shape the future and the next generation of leaders. Feed 10 young women, empower them.
The World Government Summit is taking place at Expo 2020 Dubai, coinciding with the final days of the global event.
Established nearly a decade ago, the conference helps identify opportunities and set the agenda for future governments. It attracts senior government officials, senior representatives of international organizations, private sector leaders, thinkers, opinion makers, futurists and experts.
Speakers typically discuss the most pressing global challenges, suggesting ways to improve government performance and prepare for, as well as cope with, sudden changes. This year, the summit created 15 global forums to combat threats emerging from volatile financial markets and new virtual worlds.
“Launching these global forums is part of the goal of identifying and highlighting the most important global trends in vital sectors, and informing policies, strategies and plans that advance preparedness and the adaptability of governments for the next stage of development,” said Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and Chairman of the World Government Summit Foundation.
Among women leaders from around the world present on Monday, Gordana Comic, Serbia’s Minister for Human and Minority Rights, told the “Women in Government” session that the time had come to recognize that “women are the half of everything”.
She said: “My modern role as a woman must be harmonized and not confronted with the past and traditions. We are educated and we are still educating. We are always told to take care of others; men are taught to allow someone to take care of others. Let’s educate men to also take care of others: humans, the climate and the world.
Patricia Francourt, Minister for Employment and Social Affairs of Seychelles, described how she learned to become resilient while living in the UK. “Passion and resilience are traits you want to share, something we should do as women,” she said.
Seeking to share what she has gained from living in the rest of the world, Francourt said she built “resource cabinets” and started workshops upon her return to Seychelles.
The workshops targeted women in leadership positions who felt they needed to go the extra mile.
Francourt, a psychotherapist before entering government, said she does not separate her knowledge from her experience, noting that good mental health is necessary to thrive. She advised women not to give up, even if they are in the minority, and to keep pushing and challenging.
Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development of the United Arab Emirates, said women have other roles in a community – “a mother, a daughter, an aunt, etc.” – in addition to working or being involved in government.
“Women have a lot of responsibilities, but their focus on the family is very important. It is essential that the roles are better balanced than they have been,” she said.
Discussing the role of women in shaping resilient economies, Hala El-Saeed, Minister of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform, Egypt, highlighted the need for political will, an institutional framework and decrees. that support the role of women in leadership. “We need qualified women. We need to invest in women,” she said.
Nadia Fettah Alaoui, Morocco’s Minister of Finance, said women must be empowered in the public and private sectors.
“Women in high positions can offer different ways of solving problems and setting priorities,” she said. “Rural women, in particular, need to be educated and included.”
In a separate special address, Huda Al-Hashimi, UAE Deputy Cabinet Minister for Strategic Affairs, spoke about the role of women in “bringing global moral strategic leadership to the table.”
Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, defined the concept as doing the right thing, choosing the right battles and working together on the big issues.
“Time is not on our side; battles must be won almost immediately,” Mottley said.
“All people have a role to play, not just governments, in making the world a better place. Technology is an amplifier, because of access to information. Technology can democratize, but if not used properly it can lead to oppression.
She added: “You have to do it right. Building trust and partnership are the things that will ultimately be remembered.
“As human beings, we have so much more in common than what separates us. Progress doesn’t always happen in a straight line. The ability to stay focused, grounded and humble is what matters.
“Are we ready for a new world order?
Coexistence with Iran was among several issues discussed at a plenary session on Tuesday titled “Are we ready for a new world order?”
Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the President of the UAE, said that with the world having gone through a difficult decade, the UAE is reaching out to all parties in an attempt to reduce tensions in the Middle East.
Acknowledging that the UAE’s goal is to find a way to work with Iran, he said, “We are reaching out to friends and also adversaries, and rebuilding bridges.
“We’re not going to agree with everything they want to do. The Middle East is not just about Iran and Israel.
Gargash said the region needs to turn the page and reach out to everyone. “Our intention is to find a way to work functionally with Iran and ensure that there is an agenda for stability and prosperity in the region, including Iran and others,” he said. -he declares.
The adviser argued that issues of democracy and authoritarianism are not binary, given how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted different approaches to governance.
“Every attempt at democracy in the Arab world has become ideological or tribal, so I’m not sure that’s something we can pull off. But we need governance, and that requires a lot of components. It may be in the middle of the two.
Gargash’s view was echoed by Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, who described the legitimacy of governments accepted by citizens as the most effective way to build societies.
“The question is having an effective government and whether people see it as legitimate,” he said.
“Democracy is one way to achieve this, but there are other ways. Legitimacy is gained by governments that can provide goods and efficiency to their people.
Arguing that “people want freedom, human rights and governments to provide order, security and health care,” Kempe said: “This new era of technological change is accelerating all the time. , and they can be used to inform and provide better government services. ”