Over 900 Women Leaders From 70 Countries Gather in Dubai for 2023 Global Summit of Women
Women government leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs from 70 countries converged in Dubai today to open the 2023 Global Summit of Women, marking the first time in the Summit’s 33-year history this global gathering has taken place in the Gulf Region. Under the theme of “Women: Leading a New Climate of Change” H.E Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy presented the advantages of Doing business in the UAE, in the presence of Securities and Commodities Authority CEO Dr. Maryam Al Suwaidi, delegations from countries including the US, Spain, Vietnam, Mexico, and Kazakhstan were among the 900+ delegates and other participated countries in the summit.
H.E. Bin Touq said, “The UAE leadership has always remained keen to enhance women’s contribution to society and the nation’s sustainable economic development. Numerous laws and policies that were passed over the last 15 years to support their empowerment across economic, social, and work spheres reflect this approach adopted by the UAE government. As a result, today, women represent half of the country’s workforce and their representation in boardrooms went up from 4% to 8.8% in just a couple of years. Besides, the UAE has the highest share of women in parliament at 50% and is also among those countries with the largest number of women ministers at 28%. Currently, as we accelerate the UAE’s transition to the new economic model, women have made impressive contributions to the new economic sectors as well. For instance, women make up 42% of the MBR Space Centre’s workforce and 80% of the Hope Probe team. Building on these achievements, we are keen to attract more women entrepreneurs and innovators to take advantage of the progressive policy framework and attractive incentives offered by the UAE economy to excel in their fields of work.”
Speakers provided information on the country’s economy and areas of possible investment opportunities. Other highlights over the three-day Summit include the release of a first-ever report on “Women Board Directors of MENAT (Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey)”, covering 1,148 listed companies in 16 countries, at a forum on Friday, May 5th. A key finding shows the MENAT region has room to grow women’s corporate leadership.
Earlier today, a Government Leadership Forum convened 30 ministers and senior government officials for exchanges on successful policies and programs that improved women’s economic opportunities. UAE Minister of State Dr. Maitha Al-Shamsi offered an example of a cross-border initiative to improve women’s lives with a program under the auspices of Sheikha Fatima to assist Syrian refugees, while other projects were shared by Cambodia’s Minister for Women’s Affairs in Cambodia H.E. Ing. Kantha Phavi, Croatian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Hon. Andreja Metelko-Djombic, and U.S. Acting Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues Hon. Katrina Fotovat, among others.
Also on Friday, the Summit will recognize the groundbreaking and ongoing work of the Mother of the Nation, H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak with the 2023 Global Women’s Leadership Award, for her lifetime commitment to improving the lives of women and girls in the UAE and throughout the region. “When women and men lead to better women’s lives, there’s a ripple effect as Her Highness Sheikha Fatima has shown for so many years.” Previous recipients include Nobel Prize-winner and Founder of the Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus, U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, Japan’s Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Ireland’s former President Mary Robinson, former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, Europen Commission former Vice President Vivian Reding to name a few.
The Summit officially opens this evening headlined by the Vice President of Vietnam, Vo Thi Anh Xuan, who is on an official visit to the UAE and met UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi earlier in the week. She will be joined by Thailand’s Former Minister of Tourism and Sports and Chair of Toshiba Thailand, Kobkarn Wattanavrangul, Emirates Businesswomen’s Council President Farida al Awadhi, and a line-up of women business leaders from different parts of the world to exemplify what women are able to achieve.
Led by its President Irene Natividad, the Summit was launched on Wednesday, May 3rd with a ringing of the Opening Bell at the Dubai Financial Market/NASDAQ Dubai with 30 international women business leaders with Dubai-based CEOs, including CEO of Etihad Credit Insurance Raja Al Mazrouie, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank UAE Rola Abu Manneh, Partner of Deloitte Middle East Rana Salhab and others. “I began bringing women to Market Opens since 2006 in NASDAQ New York because women need to be part of business traditions that underscore their growing roles in the global economy,” states Natividad.