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The W20 Summit Kicked Off & Here's What To Know

"Daring to imagine a world where women's equality is a reality," said W20 Salma Al-Rashid.

The G20 women’s engagement unit, the W20, inaugurated the summit on October 20th. Under Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency, the much-anticipated global forum sponsored by Aramco is taking place virtually. Dr. Thoraya Obeid, the chair of the W20, and Salma Al Rashid, the W20 Sherpa, have ensured that the global phenomenon exceeds all expectations despite it being virtual during a pandemic.

The head of Australia’s delegation to the W20, the G20 women’s engagement unit, Erin Watson-Lynn, has described the Saudi presidency of the group as “extraordinary.” “I’ve got to say the Saudi presidency of the W20 through Dr. Thoraya Obaid and Salma Al-Rashid and the team has been extraordinary in terms of how they’ve managed and organized the W20 this year. I think it’s been outstanding. So a lot of credit goes to their leadership,” she told Arab News.

Since 2018, Salma Al-Rashid played the role of representative to the Kingdom in both Argentina and Japan during G20 conferences. As this year’s Sherpa, the Saudi female trailblazer has had her hands full with preparing the conferences. Al-Rashid heads up AlNahda Philanthropic Society for Women, a namesake charity from the Kingdom advocating for female empowerment and participation

Helming the W20 Riyadh, AlNahda organizes the moderation of discussions between delegates, esteemed guests and think tanks from the G20 member states. Including gender is at the heart of the round-tables following the G20 Leaders’ Declaration, which lays out policies and commitments pushing for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. “I take the task of head of delegation and sherpa very seriously,” Al-Rashid told Arab News in the run-up to the summit. “I have the responsibility to bring forward the voice of Saudi Arabian women in all their shapes, forms and experiences. I serve as the mechanism to project the voices of women of Saudi Arabia in this global forum.”

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