WEEGS 2017 – The Sessions
OPENING CEREMONY & PLEDGES
Inauguration of the first edition of Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit.
• NAMA Women Advancement Establishment aims to empower women through collaborations with entities that share the same vision, such as UN women.
• In alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, NAMA and the United Nations called upon governmental organisations around the world to support women’s economic empowerment.
• NAMA introduced the pledges, where companies, organisations and government entities can pledge a commitment to support women’s empowerment and integration into the economy, through initiatives, policy changes, programmes or research.
• The pledges responded to one or more of the UN’s Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs).
• The opening video highlighted the challenges women face around the world, and the importance of coming together to create a more equitable world. There are 76 million uneducated girls in the world, 80 million women are unemployed, 2.4 billion of the workforce earn less than $2 a day, 60% of which are women.
• 2015 Gender Gap Report asserts that of 15 countries worldwide with the lowest rate of women participation, 13 are from the MENA region.
INNOVATIVE TEAMS AND THE CREATIVE PROCESS
This session focused on innovative team structure and the Creative Problem Solving (CPS) processes. It helps determine one’s own thinking preferences within a group.
• Creative Problem Solving (CPS) is a process in which team members work together utilising their diverse skills and thinking preferences to solve a problem creatively.
• The most important step is identifying one’s own method of problem solving.
• A successful team combines its members’ diverse skillsets and various thinking processes to reach a common goal.
• Having a specific thinking preference does not mean one is superior or inferior to others who think and act differently.
• Some team members may have traits belonging to more than one category.
INDUSTRY LEADERS SUPPORTING GENDER-RESPONSIVE PROCUREMENT
The session focused on industry leaders supporting gender-responsive procurement. It highlighted commitments, experiences, and good practices within the private and public sectors on relevant policies supporting women entrepreneurs and women business owners.
• Corporations are uniquely positioned to promote gender equality, and empower women in the both workplace and the community through their purchasing practices. The magnitude of corporate purchasing power is indicative of their power to influence the way suppliers and supply chains work to make them more inclusive.
• About 63% of the top 175 global economic entities, including states or national governments,
• Each year corporations spend trillions of dollars acquiring goods and services, 1% of which is spent on purchases from women owned businesses. - Elizabeth A. Vazquez
• Corporations aim to be inclusive in their sourcing practices as it is a business imperative.
ENABLING ENVIRONMENTS FOR WOMEN
This session highlighted the various factors that create enabling environments for women. Innovative leaders and thinkers inspired participants on how women business owners can grow their enterprises. The presenters focused on elements of business success, such as enabling conditions, and creating interventions and programmes that help women excel economically and professionally.
• Women’s empowerment strategies in the UAE encompass self-empowerment, social, political, legal and financial empowerment as well as access to knowledge.
• Societal Schools to support projects are launched in the UAE to empower women financially. Such efforts enhance women’s creativity, success, and their ability to achieve work-life balance.
• Entrepreneurs programs such as SME- Khalifa Fund and other sources of funding are dedicated to help UAE women become financially empowered.
• Empowering women and creating an enabling environment should be a global effort. We must ensure that such initiatives cultivate economic growth.
• Inspiring women and encouraging their learning from previous experiences and failures create enabling environments for women to thrive. Challenges build character and skills.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT: THE MISSING PIECE
The session discussed women’s role in economic growth and sustainability.
• The importance of supporting women by both genders.
• The role of governments and companies in supporting/employing women in the energy field.
• The need for networks to support and mentor women for the workplace
MEDIA & MARKETING CREATORS
The session discussed the obstacles women face within the Media and Marketing sector and the possible avenues to utilise these sectors by women entrepreneurs to grow their business ideas.
• Media's role is vital in providing the youth, the underprivileged, and women with platforms to tell their stories. Media should also play a role in changing perceptions discriminating attitutudes towards women.
• Collaboration and interaction is key. Utilising platforms in the right manner is crucial to facilitate economic empowerment. Women must strive to maintain a balance between their roles within the community, as mothers and in their careers.
• We must talk to the previous generation and challenge their beliefs as much as the current generation.
• Social Media is a powerful tool influencing decision and policy-making.
FINANCIAL INNOVATIONS & SOLUTIONS
The session discussed discrimination, structural inequality, stereotypes and perceptions related to women in the financial sector. It also touched upon innovative solutions of gender- responsive examples of financial products and services aiming to bridge the gender gap.
Key Messages |
• Female entrepreneurs play a critical role in local economies, creating jobs and fostering innovations. However, statistics show that only 30% of SMEs are owned and managed by women globally.
• In order for women to thrive in the full spectrum of industry, from finance to construction, to technology, they need to have access to a supportive business ecosystem.
BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE SECTOR
The session discussed how a gender perspective can be integrated into initiatives in the transport and logistics sector, which cuts across all industries, to create an enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment.
• The government’s role in supporting women in the transport and logistics sector is crucial. Policies are needed to ensure the sector accommodates women as employees and opportunities for women business-owners.
• Women must be afforded access to skill development because talent and competence must be the determining factor for recruitment, not gender. Women should be provided with the opportunity to fulfill their potential and showcase their competence.
• Collaboration between the private and public sectors in conducting training, education and raising awareness is key to cultivate women’s talent in the transport and logistics industry.
• Media working hand in hand with the government can help change perceptions regarding women working in the transport and logistics industry.
ACCESS TO INNOVATIVE LEARNING
The session aimed to show how new frontier technologies deliver education to the masses in a specific and targeted way, how we can personalise learning through technology, and how to use technology and innovation for learning opportunities for female job seekers and entrepreneurs, and learning in general. gap.
• Investing in teachers and creating partnerships with them facilitates online learning. It is important to make them our allies in the process.
• Teachers are the key to society’s development and when the education sector is underfunded, it can lead to its stagnation.
• It is important to bridge the gap between education and employment, and ensure that
• Cultivating an innovative culture takes place through establishing a basis of collaboration and trust among the team members. It also requires time, resources, access to knowledge, autonomy and experimentation.
EMIRATI WOMEN’S JOURNEY IN THE ECONOMY
This session presented narratives of Emirati women from different careers and backgrounds. They shed light on their experiences, the obstacles they faced, and how they overcame them.
• Emirati women occupy highly regarded positions and realised many achievements.
• Women, working hand in hand with men, have exerted great efforts for sustainable development.
• Women should be empowered economically on regional and international scales. They should also be involved in all economic sectors and leadership positions.
• Legislations provide opportunity; while lack of their implementation is a challenge.
• Educational curriculums need modification to equip students with skills required in the workforce.
BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE & EQUITABLE WORKPLACE
This session provided an overview of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) work to establish equality between female and male employees in Jordan. Equality includes pay, benefits and career development. Challenges facing women and potential solutions were highlighted.
• Discrimination between female and male employees is based on a retrospective perception that males are main providers while females’ contribution is minimal.
• Employment should not be based on gender, but on the candidate’s qualifications and merits.
• Raising awareness among women to know their rights and the value of their work; subsequently, their contribution to society and the economy.
• Establishing work syndicates authorises such entities to fight for employees’ rights. • International standards must be adhered to by all countries.
THE COST OF VIOLENCE ON WOMEN’S ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION
This session aimed to raise awareness of the costs of violence against women and girls in the domestic, public, and work place to society.
• Quantifying the financial impact of violence gives an idea of its economic impact; however, no one can quantify emotional and psychological distress experienced by the female victims and children. We must take into account their personal experience.
• Response to violence after it occurs does not prevent its occurrence.
• The need for effective implementation of laws and policies to prevent violence against women as well as supporting victims and survivors.
• Fear of violence and lack of confidence are major barriers for women. We need to mentor women and help them overcome fear.
POWER TALK: MY JOURNEY
This session offered perspectives of inspiring women who decided to move from their comfort zone to make a positive change and an impact on their lives and their communities. It touches on the influence of their fathers on their career paths and life journeys.
BRIEFING ON GENDER-RESPONSIVE PROCUREMENT
This session discussed the importance of gender responsive sourcing and how can it can be achieved.
• Supplier diversity is not the responsibility of governments and NGOs only, but it is everyone’s responsibility. We need to work strategically with various stakeholders to achieve this.
• Only 1% of money is invested in women owned businesses. If more investments are allocated to women owned businesses, we can generate 28 trillion dollars in the global economy by 2025.
• Corporations doing business with women owned businesses now share their experience with governments and multilaterals. It is the opportune time to promote more inclusive economic development, and value chains.
• For SMEs, having corporations as buyers is a catalyst for growth. It provides them with increased revenue, financial stability, and opens doors for larger clients.
• Promoting a gender responsive procurement strategy promotes gender equality and empowers women owned businesses economically; it does not mean lowering your buying standards.
• It is important to raise awareness among them about supply chains and that it is possible to do business with major corporations.
ELEVATE PLATFORM BRIEFING
Sadaffe Abid provides the background leading to founding “Circle”. She sheds light on challenges facing Pakistani women and their possible solutions. Furthermore, she touched upon the collaboration between NAMA and Circle to create The Elevate Platform.
• Investing in women is the smartest economic venture today; they are the next growth economy. World female income is twice greater than the combined GDP of China and India.
• Nike reports that women invest most of their earnings in education, nutrition and healthcare. Scott Page reports a direct correlation between diversity and innovation. Mckinsey states that 28 trillion dollar increase to the economy can be achieved through gender parity in 2025.
• Inspite of these statistics, no sufficient progress is made. Worldwide, a low number of women holds leadership positions. The WEF’s statistics on gender parity in 2015 calculated 140 years to achieve global gender parity. In 2016, 170 years. In 2017, 200 years.
SESSION 17: SCIENCE, HEALTH & SPORTS: ECOSYSTEMS
This session discussed the status of healthcare, the steps required to improve the current state, and the role of women in the health and sports industries.
• Governments, private sectors, and civil society must address healthcare issues through investments and raising awareness.
• STEM education is crucial in enabling women to be active participants in the health sector.
• Sports help create a healthy society and provides girls with economic opportunities.