UNESCO Conference in Paris: UNESCO's Soft Power Today: Fostering Women's Empowerment and Leadership
Amal Al Qubaisi: Fatima Bint Mubarak enabled UAE women to prove their exceptional capacities
Her Excellency Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Chairperson of the Federal National Council (FNC), affirmed that the Emirati women have demonstrated exceptional capacities and achieved many gains as a result of the leadership’s support and the constructive role of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union. Her Excellency referred to that ever since the formation of UAE in 1971, she supported paving the way ahead of the women's participation in the political field. For decades, Her Highness presented a leading model of empowering and enhancing the position of women at the local level in the Arab world.
This speech took place during the recent participation of UAE large delegation of leading personalities, officials and education specialists from several entities in UNESCO Conference in Paris ”Soft Power: Fostering Women's Empowerment and Leadership”. The conference aims at highlighting UNESCO's achievements in developing frameworks and defining promising routes leading to comprehensive and innovative partnerships in the women's empowerment.
The conference was attended by 50 high-level personalities and experts around the world. The conference took place in support of UNESCO objectives, particularly highlighting the gender equality, being one of the UNESCO’s most prominent interests and top priorities.
The participation of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science in the conference is made within the framework of achieving the agenda of the fifth goal of sustainable development which focuses on women and girls' empowerment and from which the fourth goal related to gender equality is emerged where it focuses, in one of its aspects, on providing equal opportunities in education and highlighting the efforts of the State in empowering women at the international level through reviewing these efforts by Her Excellency Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, the President of the Federal National Council.
The participating delegation included Her Excellency Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, the President of the Federal National Council, Her Excellency Amal Al-Koos, the Secretary-General of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science and a number of officials and leaders of the State.
Her Excellency Amal Al Qubaisi began her speech, during her participation in the agenda of the conference, by thanking the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, for her prominent leading role in promoting and empowering women worldwide, praising at the same time a group of women who had effective roles in empowerment of women.
She said, addressing women around the world, "Many women have contributed to changing the world at all political, economic, cultural, social and technological levels, and had an influential role in promoting and strengthening their societies as the societies strengthen the status of their women".
She emphasized that we all need to realize that many efforts must be made to achieve the objectives of gender equality, accordingly, significant strides have been taken in this framework and perhaps our existence here today under the umbrella of UNESCO is one of these efforts.
Her Excellency addressed the progress and gains achieved by the UAE in the field of women's empowerment where 97% of public education graduates join universities and 70% of university graduates are women. In addition, the percentage of women as a working force in the governmental sector is 66% while women constitute 27.5% of the council of ministers and 23% of the members of the Federal National Council.
She added that we have 23000 businesswomen whose investments value is up to more than 50 billion dirhams, which is approximately estimated by 13 billion euros.
Her Excellency said that, as a result of the support of the leadership represented in Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak and her established approach, women in the UAE today hold many leading positions and contribute to achieving the strategic orientations of the State in various sectors of government and society, noting that we are in the UAE have moved from empowering women to empower the society through women.
She considered that the greatest challenges we face today are the spread of violence, extremism and the ideas which allow violence against the other based on religious or ethnic differences or just for difference of ideas as well as the spread of political differences and culture of fear including the fear of losing our jobs, values, beliefs and identity and the fear of the other as we feel afraid of losing our resources and opportunities.
She believed that building cultural norms is one of the key tasks of women who have the greatest role in leading the change in societies to face challenges; thus, our societies need to be empowered by the right cultural orientations which are based on respect of human rights and the duties towards humanity.
She stated that we need now more than ever a world-wide cultural revolution led by women along with bringing women back to the forefront to develop and build values of tolerance and respect of diversity. We also need to increase women's awareness of science, invest women's efforts and use technological advance in means of communication and social media to unite women's efforts across the world and maximize their strength and influence, in particular because there are 3.7 billion women around the world and the opportunities to invest their strength are great if we could reach them.
Her Excellency concluded the importance of circulating the present framework which measures the influence of women at the economic level as well as measuring their influence at the cultural level. She stressed that women around the world must occupy leading positions as they represent the soft power necessary for change and cultural transformation and history is full of models of leading women who changed the world.
Amal Al-Koos: Empowering women and promoting their role are the basis of building, renaissance and development of societies
On her part, Her Excellency Amal Al-Koos stressed that the UAE could, in record time, unite efforts locally to make a remarkable change in women's lives where the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God have mercy upon him, with the support of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, has the most prominent role in promoting women's gains and empowering women to perform the role entitled to them in the process of development.
She said that Emirati women have demonstrated their ability to lead and excel which enabled them to attain many achievements to be a true partner and support to men, indicating that women's efforts, potentials and abilities are limitless and have formed important pillar and double strength in the way of achieving a difference in the development and renaissance of the UAE. She emphasized at the same time that women empowerment is the basis for building, renaissance and development of societies.
Her Excellency praised UNESCO's role and efforts aiming at achieving global goals in terms of women's empowerment, justice, gender equality, rejection of violence and extremism, combating poverty and terrorism and many other goals which are embodied within the framework of UNESCO and its various committees, affirming that the conference was a suitable occasion to achieve the consistency required to promote the global efforts in a manner contributing to gender equality through valuable work sessions.
She stated that the conference included several sessions and topics with regard to women's empowerment and sustainable development, cultural change of gender equality concepts, women in business sectors and challenges of the present situation in gender equality issues.
Based on the discussions and meetings held at the conference, she mentioned that the attendees made several recommendations aiming at supporting the orientations of UNESCO and its partners in identifying and prioritizing areas of work in the fields of promoting women’s empowerment and leadership worldwide.
Her Excellency Amal Al-Koos asserted that the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science will continue its coordination and cooperation with UNESCO and other organizations and bodies that support women in order to promote best practices and frameworks that ensure making a clear change in the aspects surrounding women, improving their image and establishing their effective role in societies.