Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Women, particularly businesswomen and entrepreneurs must be responsible in empowering themselves towards an “equitable society and common future for all.” Helping women empower themselves helps the world heal, move on and move forward from the continuing scourge of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
These were from Sharjah Business Women Council chairperson Sheikha Hind Bint Majid Al Qasimi and Rwandan Ambassador to the UAE Emmanuel Hategeka who shared their respective opinion pieces on the occasion of International Women’s Day (IWD) on Monday, (March 8).
In her “Investing ‘Big’ in Women’s Ambitions and Achievements,” Al Qasimi wrote that as businesswomen and entrepreneurs must allocate periodic assessments of their professional lives and decisions, “(they) are not only the guardians of their achievements and those of their female peers; they are responsible for taking them to a level reflective of real, qualitative partnerships (which) should not just be justified by the women-to-men ratio, but by the impact their businesses have on the economy and on community, and whether or not their business mission and outcomes are in service of national interests.”
Aside from improving on the state and numbers of the country’s small-and-medium enterprises that contribute 60 per cent to the UAE’s gross domestic product, Al Qasimi enumerated the other areas of opportunities and investments greenhorn and veteran enterprising women could spearhead and forge through public-private partnerships. These are “emerging sectors or industries” of information communications technology, financial engineering, modern agriculture, and all Digital World-related services.
“Businesswomen’s strong entry and success in these emerging sectors will require expanding their specialisation capacities, and broadening their horizons beyond fashion, design, personal care and products, handicrafts, heritage and traditional trade, to new unlimited areas. By entering emerging sectors, businesswomen will have a special and influential place in the economy of the future,” she said.
Referencing to the 2021 “Choose to Challenge” IWD theme, she also wrote: “Let us invest in enabling this support to reach fullest extent. Let 2021, as defined by (IWD), be a year of choosing to challenge, a year of bigger investments into women’s future ambitions and achievements, and to always set our goals in a way that shape an equitable society and a common future for all.”
In his “Empowering Women for a Better World: Not Only Smart Politics But the Right Thing to Do,” Hategeka mentioned of the similarities of the UAE and Rwanda in their approaches to encouraging women play major roles in the socio-economic-legislative spheres making them policy and decision-makers as well of fragile and complex issues and concerns locally to internationally.
Hategeka set his opinion piece against the prevailing global health crisis: “And like many other issues, women have been affected the most. A 2020 UN (United Nations) Women Report-From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the Wake of COVID-19, estimates that ‘the pandemic will push an additional 96 million people into extreme poverty by 2021, 47 million of whom are women and girls.’
“Despite the fact that they have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, women have once again demonstrated their courage, strength and resilience in the pandemic preparedness and response, in Rwanda, in the UAE and all over the world from the top leadership down to the communities and families.
“When I reflect on the role that women play from being pillars of family, to nation and peace building, the only question I ask myself is: ‘We have inherited a gender-imbalanced society but what are we doing to bridge the gap?
“The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact are a stark reminder of the urgency needed to step up action towards gender equality and empowerment...let us all together strive for a world where equality and equity prevail.”
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