Expo 2020 Dubai: When women thrive, society thrives, says UAE minister

The Women's Pavilion invites visitors to recognise the central role that women have played throughout history


Saman Haziq

Published: Thu 28 Oct 2021, 1:12 PM

The world's female leaders are proof that when women thrive, society also flourishes, said Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Expo 2020's Women's Pavilion, in collaboration with Cartier, unveiled an exhibition titled 'New Perspectives'.

Speaking at the inauguration of the pavilion on Wednesday, Hashimy said: “Alongside the non-negotiable values of tolerance, inclusivity and opportunity for all, women’s equality and empowerment is not a choice, but a necessity. And so, in the half-century of our modern existence, we have emerged as a proof point for the principle that when women thrive, all of society thrives.”

The exhibition invites visitors to recognise the central role that women have played throughout history, leading up to the present, and celebrates their significant — yet often forgotten — contributions to advancing society.

Also at the event, Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), said that the greatest challenges of our time demand the minds of talented women.

As such, Expo's collaboration with Cartier is an "excellent and timely" reminder of the women who have led the charge for positive change in societies.

"We simply cannot afford to leave talented women behind when we tackle the great challenges that await us, such as climate change, such as inequality," Lagarde said virtually during the inauguration.

Fresh ideas and innovative solutions, like those showcased in the Women's Pavilion, are essential for building a more sustainable and inclusive economy, she said. She also hailed the Women's Pavilion as a "celebration of all those women, seen and unseen, who have trail-blazed societal change."

Lagarde, who was France’s first female finance minister, the first female managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is the first female president of the ECB, said: “It was Abraham Lincoln who said ‘the best way to predict your future is to create it’. Let us rise to that challenge together.”

Mona Ghanem Al Marri, director-general of the Government of Dubai Media Office and vice-president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said: “Though governments play a significant role in advancing women empowerment, they cannot succeed without meaningful collaborations with the private sector, civil societies and committed individuals.”


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Cyrille Vigneron, president and CEO of Cartier International, said that meeting his wife was the defining moment of his career.

"When I’m asked what has been the defining moment of my career, with no hesitation I say when I met (her). She really made me. For many men, it's like this, but we don't acknowledge it," he said.

The pavilion addresses gender equality and women’s empowerment, while also highlighting the challenges women still face, especially as the world navigates the Covid-19 pandemic and works towards a more sustainable future.

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