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A Round-Up Of What Went Down During The Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020

The summit, which attracted over 100 speakers and 3,000 attendees, was held under the theme “The Power of Influence”.

Dubai Women Establishment recently hosted the second edition of the Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) at the emirate’s Madinat Jumeirah. The two-day event, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, offered a global platform to influence policies and foster partnerships that further women’s positive impact. Building on the theme The Power of Influence, the GWFD discussions this year inspired dialogues on the role of women across four main areas: government, economy, society and future.

 “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,” HH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said. The President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and President of Dubai Women Establishment, added, “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.”

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Notable speakers from the UAE

Several noteworthy speakers from the UAE shared their insights throughout GWFD 2020, with HE Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board and Managing Director of DWE, delivering the Forum’s welcome note during the official opening. Others included HH Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, HE Hessa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development, and HE Mariam Al Mheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food Security. HE Huda Al Hashimi, Assistant Director General for Strategy & Innovation at the UAE’S Prime Minister’s Office, was also a featured speaker.

The Forum featured prominent international speakers too, including the Right Honourable Theresa May, Member of Parliament and former UK Prime Minister and Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President of the United States of America, who gave the keynote speech. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF, was another high-flying speaker.

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Interesting plenary sessions

Many different topics were explored throughout GWFD, like transformative strategies for global gender balance, the future of women at work during the Fourth Industrial Revolution and driving female entrepreneurship in the MENA region. The themes of women’s active role in government and the importance of female engagement in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 were also on the agenda.

The most effective approach to achieving global gender balance was discussed during a plenary featuring HE Hessa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development. Another plenary focused on female leaders in government, their contributions to decision-making roles and recommended best practices to promote women’s advancement. During this session, HE Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food Security, joined the likes of HE Rania Al Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, and HE Lana Nusseibah, UAE Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN. Female engagement and its role in achieving the UN’s SDG 2030 were at the centre of a third plenary session. HE Abdulla Lootah, Director General, Federal Competitiveness & Statistics Authority, and HE Shamsa Saleh, Secretary General, UAE Gender Balance Council and CEO of Dubai Women Establishment, were among the people involved. Plus, an added plenary discussion, Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the MENA Region: New Solutions to Overcoming Barriers, showcased innovative private and public sector solutions that are supporting women entrepreneurs in the MENA region. Panelists included Nadia Al Saeed, General Manager of Bank al Etihad and Al Mashat. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution set to significantly change the future of work, one plenary gathering explored the expected fast-paced transformation of the economy and provided insights into the various ways women can establish steady careers and pursue greater success.

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A spotlight on women who are redefining matters

Game-Changer sittings were introduced during GWFD 2020 too, featuring inspiring stories from successful, pioneering women across various sectors and highlighting their experiences. These touched on a range of issues, from philanthropy, international relations and male-dominated industries to business and more.

Fearless women like Captain Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum, the first Emirati female pilot from the royal family, and Dr Rana Dajani, the Jordanian Molecular Scientist and Founder of We Love Reading, made an impact. Dr Ghada Al Mutairi, Scholar at San Diego’s University of California, and Dina El Shenoufy, the Chief Investment Officer of Flat6Labs in Egypt, were two other interesting Arab women in this selection.

The Forum engaged over 3,000 attendees from 87 different countries, including global leaders, entrepreneurs experts, academics, entrepreneurs and students. They attended over 60 workshops and sessions, as well as the five dedicated plenaries. Over 250 government representatives, business leaders and women entrepreneurs from the region also participated in the first We-Fi MENA Regional Summit, which was co-organised by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and Dubai Women Establishment and took place on the sidelines of the Forum. The summit focused on encouraging female entrepreneurs in the MENA region, revealing relevant research and institutions and providing several workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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