Dubai: Over 100 leaders and experts from across the world will arrive in Dubai next week for Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) 2020 to engage in constructive dialogue on the advancement of women. The event, which has been organised by Dubai Women Establishment (DWE), is taking place from 16 – 17 February, under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai.
More than 3,000 delegates from 87 countries are expected to attend over 60 workshops and sessions, including five dedicated plenaries, throughout the two-day conference. Over 250 government representatives, business leaders and women entrepreneurs from the region will also participate in the first We-Fi MENA Regional Summit, which is co-organised by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and Dubai Women Establishment, and taking place on the sidelines of the Forum.
The forum will feature international speakers including David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF; Theresa May, former Prime Minister of the UK; and Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President of the United States of America.
Several notable speakers from the UAE will also share insights throughout GWFD 2020, including Shaikha Latifa Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority; Hessa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development; and Mariam Al Mheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food Security. Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board and Managing Director of DWE, will deliver the forum’s welcome note during the official opening.
Shaikha Manal Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment, and wife of His Highness Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, said that the UAE is today reaping the benefits of a development journey set in motion by its wise leadership, who believed in women’s capabilities and the importance of their role in society.
“The UAE provides an inspirational model for the empowerment and socio-economic participation of women. The country has created a highly supportive environment for women to enhance their contributions to society. The global community’s recognition of these remarkable achievements has led to the UAE becoming a venue for the world’s largest events focused on women’s empowerment and advancement,” she added
“Many countries in the region have launched concerted efforts to empower women and promote gender parity. The UAE has been at the forefront of women’s empowerment in the region and made outstanding progress in reducing the gender gap, achievements that have helped significantly raise the country’s rankings in global gender balance indicators.”
“It is an honour to host Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020, which is an important milestone in the UAE’s ongoing journey to elevate the status of women across all sectors. In line with our wise leadership’s vision, the UAE has made significant strides in championing women’s valuable contribution to the nation’s development, successfully enhancing female participation in the workforce and propelling more women into leadership roles. The Forum provides an opportunity to highlight this progress and share our experiences with the global community so that we can together influence policies and foster partnerships to further women’s positive impact across the world,” she added.
A wide range of topics will be explored throughout GWFD 2020, including transformative strategies for global gender balance, the future of women at work during the Fourth Industrial Revolution, propelling female entrepreneurship in the MENA region, women’s active role in government, and the importance of female engagement in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, among others. Several breakout sessions will address these topics, presenting a vital opportunity to influence improved policies and foster collaborative partnerships that will empower women around the world to drive transformative change and create a better future for all.
The most effective approach to achieving global gender balance will be discussed during a plenary featuring Hessa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development. She will be joined by Pedro Conceição from the UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, as well as Caren Grown, Senior Director for Gender at the World Bank Group. The plenary panel will be moderated by Dan Murphy of CNBC.
Another plenary will focus on women leaders in government, their contributions to decision-making roles and recommended best practices to promote women’s advancement. During this session, Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food Security, will join Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation in Egypt; Lana Nusseibah, UAE Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN; and prominent Kosovar politician Mimoza Kusari Lila, who was also the first woman to become a mayor in her country. The panel will be moderated by John Defterios of CNN.
With the Fourth Industrial Revolution set to significantly change the future of work, a plenary will explore the expected fast-paced transformation of the economy, and provide insights into the various ways women can establish steady careers and pursue greater success. Khalfan Belhoul, CEO, Dubai Future Foundation – UAE; Emma Mortinho-Truswell, COO and Co-founder of Oxford Insights; as well as Caitlin Kraft-Buchman, Founder and CEO of W@TT are set to take part in this panel.
Female engagement and its role in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030 will be the focus of the final plenary session. Abdulla Lootah, Director General, Federal Competitiveness & Statistics Authority; Shamsa Saleh, Secretary General, UAE Gender Balance Council and CEO of Dubai Women Establishment; Zohra Khan from UN Women; alongside Stefania Fabrizio, Deputy Unit Chief of the Strategy, Policy and Review Department at the IMF, will be among the speakers on this panel to be moderated by Hadley Gamble of CNBC.
Another plenary discussion, ‘Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the MENA Region: New Solutions to Overcoming Barriers’ will showcase innovative private and public sector solutions that are supporting women entrepreneurs in the MENA region. Panelists include Nadia Al Saeed, General Manager of Bank Al Etihad; H.E. Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Egypt; Laura Lane, President of Global Public Affairs at UPS; Michael Okoroafor, Vice President of Global Sustainability & Packaging Innovation at McCormick; and Heike Harmgart, Managing Director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).