Read Lubna’s blog insights where she takes a fresh look at governance to create stronger countries and business
How to reduce the Gender Parity Gap?
Hi, I am back on my blog scene. Last few weeks have been extremely busy for me with my endless meetings, hosting guests from around the globe and travelling.
Just got back from Sharm El Sheikh where I participated in the World Economic Forum on Middle East. It was quite an interesting and an insightful experience meeting with the World’s leading Political and Business Leaders and participated in some of region’s most sensitive issues.
Quite a unique experience when you are only few steps away from President Bush or under one roof with the Defence Minister of Israel and listening in such proximity as to what he has to say on peace and conflict with Palestine or exchanging thoughts with Tony Blair (Who has lost so much weight since I last met him at the House of Lords in England) or listening to what Russian Foreign Minister has to say on Iran’s Nuclear Programme. Apart from politics and the conflicts in the region other challenging debates were raised in the parallel sessions of the forum such as Education, Gender Parity, GCC Crash, Inflation and the long term vision of the leaders in the region and others.
I could probably write a few pages on each of the outlined headings however I am exhausted and I have no intentions of doing so right now. I may choose to write more in depth in due course.
However, I will not leave the screen until I share with you few points on “Gender Parity” in the region and on what I had to say on Gender Parity to a group of 50 Influential and committed female and male leaders.
I am always asked by eastern and western women living in our region or abroad that what is it like working in the Middle East? I always answer this question with a smile and welcome their naivety on the subject. For someone who has studied in the west and also had the privilege with working with the upper class white English men and also in the region I feel I am equipped with the experience of both worlds to answer a question as simple as this. My quick response always is that ” I feel like a Queen working in the Middle East, well respected for my merits, supported and encouraged always. I am so lucky to have our leaders who are ever encouraging and who truly appreciate and genuinely understand that women should be integral part of our economy. Having said this the views of a layman may be very different.
The issue of the Gender Parity is not specific to our region The Gender Parity Programme of the World Economic Forum concentrates on four critical areas to reduce the gender parity which I have outlined below.
However, in my personal view this issue is not specific only to our region just as much it is relevant to us it is also relevant and of an issue in countries around the world. Just as women may have their challenges in this region women around the world also experience similar or worst experience. The question which comes to my still mind:”Why is the issue always stressed and highlighted on a bigger scale of the women of our region, There are equally conservative societies in south east Asia and Europe? I am of the view that this issue should be dealt with around the globe.
With the support of our government there are many more women in top executive rankings in our country with such a small population than in most developed countries. The actual facts speaks for itself. We should and also everyone should also acknowledge and appreciate that despite our youth and being only 36 years old we have managed to do so much. It was only in mid 1960’s when women were allowed to read law at Universities in the United States of America.
Participation of women in politics is a process and cannot be achieved overnight, our country has appointed well deserved candidates for this role. I am of the view that there should be an increase in participation there are very good efforts in achieving this and will happen over time.
I presented my views when requested; on the steps to reduce the gender parity and my response was as follows: “We should take concrete steps to reduce the gender parity such as to develop our legislation’s and ensure women’s rights are protected and ingrained in our legislation and constitution, create awareness among our people on the importance of women participation in every level of our economy and society, political will is very important to empower women, but our society should be equally supportive and encouraging for participation at such levels.
Some other recommendations which came out of groups at the meeting:
Place more women in key public decision-making positions (ministers, parliamentarians, local government leaders) Develop more effective legislation for empowering women and ensure that this legislation is implemented – Promote girls’ education in high-tech fields since future growth and jobs will be driven by this sector – Develop a more enabling environment for working women, including services such as childcare and transport between homes and offices – Recognize publicly businesses that provide supportive environments for female employees to create positive incentives for companies, and also so that women searching for jobs are aware of the best employers – Create media campaigns aimed at changing mindsets about women’s economic participation and leadership – Increase positive, productive images of working women in school textbooks to change perceptions among girls and boys at an early age.
These were my comments and my brief experience in a nut shell, if you have any ideas on how to reduce gender parity regionally or globally please feel free to share.
Until then Adios.