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Women have a bigger role to play on the political front: Sheikha Bodour

posted on 11/02/2015: 1197 views

Woman power was on show at the session titled ‘Arab Women: From Vision to Leadership' at The Government Summit. The need for education for women was stressed by Queen Rania of Jordan in her video address.

Shortly after the session began, almost on cue with what was being discussed — leadership supporting women — His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, walked in, with the timing of his arrival drawing loud applause from the crowd.

The panellists at the session included Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation.

Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and CEO of Kalimat Group, said women should have a bigger role to play on the political front. "There should be diversity in decision making.”

For each woman in Saudi Arabia working in Social Development, there are 38 in the US, said businesswoman and philanthropist Princess Ameera Al Taweel of Saudi Arabia. Princess Ameera narrated the story of a friend of hers back in Saudi Arabia who fought a custody battle in court and won, and was also granted alimony.

She said she doesn't like the word ‘behind' in the context of the aphorism ‘behind every successful man...'; she spoke of equality, and how women and men need to be ‘next' to each other, not left behind.

She expressed hope that Saudi Arabia would go forward in this respect under the rule of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia. She spoke of the need to develop the Muslim women society, and questioned the condescension that Saudi women often receive. "We have less than one per cent of women in power,” she said quoting a Mckinsey study. "We should aim to make that two per cent next year.”

Ghada Fathi Ismail Wali, Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity, said it's not just about education numbers going up, but also about the quality and content of education women receive.

Sheikha Bodour said obstacles such as society, legislation and women themselves, need to be ironed out. She spoke of how legislation is needed to "help women, help mothers”. There issue of maternity leave as a law needs to be resolved because it isn't fair for women to have to choose between children and their careers.

Ghada said women are asking for their rights in the workplace not because they are women, but because it is an issue of competence and equality. All the panellists agreed that leadership needs to be inculcated at a young age. Education starts at home, they concurred.

There was also talk of emotional intelligence (EQ). And interestingly, women on the panel agreed it wasn't women who were solely equipped in this respect, men too could be wired with an adequate reserve of EQ. – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationgeneral


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