Sharjah - Women's Economic Empowerment Global Summit to be held in Sharjah

Sharjah - Women's Economic Empowerment Global Summit to be held in Sharjah
Sharjah - Women's Economic Empowerment Global Summit to be held in Sharjah

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Event seeks to drive home the point that without the full participation of women, growth will remain stunted

Women around the world generally only enjoy three-quarters of the legal rights that men have, according to a report released by the World Bank earlier this year. It says that though several regions have seen improvements in the last decade, a lack of equivalent rights as men constrains the ability of women around the world to get employment or start businesses.

The World Bank Group interim president, Kristalina Georgieva, has stated that around 2.7 billion women around the world are still legally barred from having the same choice of jobs as men. She stressed that if women have equal opportunities to reach their full potential the world would not only be fairer; it would be more prosperous as well. Global studies and economic indicators bear out the statement.

According to international studies, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires development on several fronts that include providing quality education, changing laws and regulations to provide equal opportunities in their workplace, pushing for economic policies to finance and support female entrepreneurs, and promoting equity in procurement and contracting for women-owned enterprises.

These key elements will be discussed during the Women's Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS) 2019, to be organised by the Nama Women Advancement Establishment in collaboration with UN Women. The biennial event, which will run on December 10-11 in Sharjah under the theme 'Drivers of Change', will focus on the challenges that women face at the global workplace with a focus on four pillars: gender-responsive procurement, women's participation in value chains, the Women's Empowerment Principles and women's access to finance.

The WEEGS 2019 agenda reflects the vision of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of Nama, who said: "Women bring numerous qualities to their role as heads of government and industry, scoring particularly highly in dedication, communication, creativity, time management, willingness to embrace new challenges and commitment to remaining updated. These are essential virtues in the building of an economy and in ensuring a country's sustainable development."

Accordingly, the summit will address opportunities for women to participate in various economic sectors and discuss ways of building their capacities and equipping them with the necessary skills in planning and management, communication, creative thinking and leadership skills development, in order to increase their participation in the job market, especially in sectors where their presence is limited.

Data released by the International Labour Organisation in 2019, showed that women represent 38.96 per cent of the global workforce. Promoting equal economic opportunities for men and women would contribute to increasing global annual GDP by between $12 and $28 trillion by 2025.

Emphasising the pivotal role of technology in education and awareness, the 2018 study by Arab Women Organisation titled 'Women and Achieving Sustainable Development Goals', drew attention to the importance of technology in achieving gender equity, as it has become an effective communication tool in promoting, advocating, and mobilising support for the empowerment of women and social causes.

According to "The role of ICT in development and gender equality" study released by Routledge Publications in 2018, men dominate the digital world and new technologies, with women occupying only 17 per cent of UK technology jobs, while in the US, they do not exceed 25 per cent.

Expert sessions, panels and interactive workshops at WEEGS 2019 will bring business and opinion leaders and decision makers from public, private and non-profit sectors on one global platform in Sharjah to lead vibrant and action-oriented discussions focused on developing strategies and exploring potential opportunities to enhance equitable opportunities for women.

More than 1,000 high-profile officials and thought leaders will learn, exchange notes, network and take back experiences that will inform and influence global policies, inform grassroot actions, boost women's career prospects in all fields and advocate the formation of inclusive work ecosystems. It will also discuss the growing role of small and medium enterprises, which offer a historic opportunity for effective partnership of women in various sectors.

Since its inception, Nama has worked tirelessly towards the advancement of women. In June 2018, they partnered with UN Women to implement their flagship programme 'Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs' in South Africa, the UAE and the region.

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