Nothing should stop progress of women, says UAE minister

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Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi delivers the opening address at the Women in Government Forum.

Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor

Women are essential to shaping a better future for all, Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Government Development and the Future and Vice Chair of the World Government Summit Organisation, said on Monday at the Women in Government Forum, part of WGS 2022 at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Al Roumi delivered the opening address at the forum that has welcomed leaders from around the world. The keynote was titled “Women in Government: Shaping a Better Future for the World.”

“We simply cannot have a conversation about shaping a better future for the world without placing women at its centre,” she said. “We are not here to advocate for women because they are women, but because of their effective contribution to a better and balanced future. It is not a gender discourse, it is a public value imperative.”

The UAE’s Minister of State for Government Development highlighted the lack of gender parity in government globally, saying that: “Worldwide, women are underrepresented in government, politics, and public life. The currency of progress is simply not enough, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report stated that it will take 145.5 years to attain gender parity in politics.”

The Index covered around 35,500 parliament seats across 156 countries, only 26.1% are held by women. Similarly, women remain underrepresented in ministerial positions at just 22.6% of all ministers worldwide. While women comprise 50% of public administrators, just 31% hold top leadership positions. More countries are now beginning to make strides in advancing the role of women in the public sphere.

She shared how the UAE is a leading country in gender equality, adding that: “In the UAE, the percentage of female members of parliament has increased from 22% to 50%. Women ministers represent 27.5% of the cabinet with portfolios such as climate change, advanced technology, education, community development, culture, and international cooperation.”

Incentives and new programmes required: The UAE’s success in enhancing the role of women in government stems from its wise leadership, she said, but also from creating programmes that encourage young women to step up to future challenges.

The minister herself began her career in the private sector with no intention of joining the government, she added. However, an opportunity to enrol in a programme for future generations of leaders changed the trajectory of her career.

Al Roumi concluded by calling on delegates to leverage the Women in Government Forum as a platform to support the next generation of women leaders. Adding that delegates could make a collective pledge to nurture 10 young women in public leadership as they navigate their journey, she pointed: “We are here to amplify the impact of women in government and set forth a clear global call for more women to join public service, more women in senior government leadership, and more collaborative efforts between men and women for diversity, inclusion, and public value. Nothing should stop the progress of women. They have equal rights as men in assuming top positions that benefit their abilities and qualifications.”

Hosted at Expo 2020 Dubai between 29-30 March 2022, WGS2022 brings together government leaders, ministers, senior officials, decision-, policy-makers and specialists across economic, social, technological and financial sectors from around the world to exchange experiences, knowledge and ideas that contribute to promoting development and prosperity around the world to forge new models of agile governance.

The summit is set to host more than 4,000 senior government officials, experts and leaders of the private sector to explore the future of governments in more than 110 dialogue and interactive sessions.

Recently, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the World Government Summit Organisation (WGS), said that the World Government Summit (WGS) has become the largest global platform for shaping the future of governments, thanks to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. This came during a speech delivered by Al Gergawi at the World Government Summit Dialogue, held at the Museum of the Future in Dubai, where he outlined the themes of the upcoming eighth edition (WGS 2022).

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