Dubai: As part of the Travel and Connectivity week at Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE Gender Balance Council and Women’s Pavilion hosted a Women’s World Majlis on ‘Bridging the Gender Gap in Mobility and Digitisation’, with the participation of prominent figures, including innovators and policy-makers in the field.
The Women’s World Majlis includes a series of sessions and seminars during Expo 2020 Dubai that aims to celebrate the role of women and their contributions in advancing sustainable development through constructive conversations.
Today’s session, which was held at the Women’s Pavilion, was moderated by Hind Al Owais, vice-president of International Participants at Expo 2020 Dubai. The panellists included Cristina Falcone, vice-president of Public Affairs at UPS Europe, and Asma Shabab, senior manager, Innovation Consulting, at Accenture Middle East.
Challenges and opportunities
The session explored numerous topics, including challenges and opportunities facing women in mobility and digital space, means to empower and enhance their skills in the digital industry, the role of organisations in dealing with these challenges, as well as changing stereotypes and social norms that portray the internet as an unsafe space for women and girls.
Panellists emphasised the importance of women’s involvement in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where the digital gender-gap worldwide remains large. Men remain 21 per cent more likely to be online than women and are four times more informed in the higher range of basic digital skills, and this percentage rises to 52 per cent in less-developed countries, while 40 per cent of developing countries do not have any policies or programmes that include the necessity of women’s access to the internet.
The speakers indicated that economic losses are inevitable due to the inability of women and girls to access the internet, leading them to losing many of the benefits and opportunities that it provides, including sharing knowledge, searching for work, accessing digital financial services, establishing e-businesses and communicating with friends and family.
Shamsa Saleh stressed the importance of the Women’s World Majlis initiative, which is one of the main events at the Women’s Pavilion, as it contributes to discussions related to promoting gender balance and empowering women around the world across many vital areas. Saleh said: “Access to the internet and freedom of movement are among the basic rights of our time. The UAE is committed to these two areas, given their role in improving the quality of life, facilitating services and achieving happiness and wellbeing for all members of society.
"It is important to raise awareness on the digital gender gap and encourage women to pursue professions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
The Women’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is also a space for meaningful and supportive discussions of women’s contributions and their vision to shape society, highlighting the initiatives and solutions offered by women around the world.
The pavilion also includes a host of programmes and events that reflect the UAE’s commitment to gender balance and women empowerment and celebrate change-makers across all fields. It also aims to break stereotypes and correct misconceptions about the role of women, highlighting the contribution of women and men together in empowering women.