Empowering women has economic benefits, says minister

Reem Al Hashimi was given the loudest round of applause at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York.

ABU DHABI // Minister of State Reem Al Hashemy was given a huge round of applause when she spoke of the importance of empowering women at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting this week.

The education advocate told the New York audience that the UAE had a greater number of women in government agencies and on corporate boards when compared with some other Arab countries.

“If you are serious about improving the status of your economy, if you’re serious about delivering on your economic agenda and creating prosperity for your citizens, and you’re not going to empower women, you’re never going to break the cycle of poverty,” Ms Al Hashemy said.

“In education, we have a lot of programmes that focus on girls, particularly because it really is, and has, a transformative impact and transformative repercussions in the community itself.

“Once a girl starts going to school and once she is more aware of what opportunities and challenges exist for her then you see automatically a whole series of macroeconomic indicators come into play.

“The use of technology is a fantastic enabler and we need to capitalise on that and harness that power.”

The CGI annual meeting included leaders from across the Middle East as regional unemployment and economic issues were discussed.

In her speech, Ms Al Hashemy, who is the chair of Dubai Cares, also warned against using a sweeping curriculum that did not take into account local employment needs.

“You can’t use a cookie-cutter approach even in one country,” she said. “Different communities necessitate a different approach as well.”

The CGI brings together business leaders, heads of state and executives of non-profit organisations to address some of the world’s most pressing social problems.


Published: September 25, 2014 04:00 AM