Jasmine Al Kuttab
The two-day summit, themed: ‘United for Shaping the Future,’ brings together 50 women speakers of parliament from around the world.
Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the UAE, keynoted the conference, quoting an inspirational poem on the importance of women. “A woman is a school: if you teach her, you teach an entire generation. If a mother never learns, how can she teach the next generation?”
The two-day summit, themed: ‘United for Shaping the Future,’ held under the patronage of Her Highness Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, brings together 50 women speakers of parliament from around the world, and focuses on women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, President of the Federal National Council (FNC), stressed that the UAE has made dynamic progress on gender balance, with the number of women in leadership roles continuously on the rise.
She pointed out that women hold powerful roles in life, and must therefore be included in parliament to help shape a peaceful future. “When women in parliament are united, we can really move mountains, and you all know that.
“But when we are united as men and as women, we can really move the world, and this is what really makes a difference,” she added.
The Grand Imam, Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, Shaikh of Al-Azhar, said governments must empower women as he referred back to original and historical sources, where Muslim women held fundamental rights and enjoyed financial independence too.
Valentina Matviyenko, Chairperson of the Council of the Russian Federation also spoke about the importance of female leadership, highlighting that by providing more women with power, the world will see greater progress in peace.
“Listening is a quality that women often have more than men. Therefore, it depends on us now, as women in parliament, to invest in the interest of peace and security in the world.”
“Women politicians have to engage with women from all parts of life.” Matviyenko, who was also the former Governor of Saint Petersburg, thus called for higher gender equality and unity, noting that “we must read into the thought that one civilisation is above all.”
The two-day summit will conclude on Tuesday evening with the release of the ‘Abu Dhabi Declaration for Shaping the Future.’