Expo 2020 Dubai to smash stereotypes of Arab women

Dubai - UAE will host the first world fair to be held in the Arab world


Anjana Sankar

Published: Fri 27 Aug 2021, 12:59 PM

Last updated: Sun 29 Aug 2021, 2:06 PM

Expo 2020 Dubai will smash stereotypes of Arab women as the first world fair to be held in the Arab world is led by a woman, women leaders at the helm of the world fair have said.

They said Expo 2020 would not have been what it is – inclusive, female-oriented and universal - if it were not led by Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE minister of state for international affairs.

Maha Al Gergawi, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs at Expo 2020, said the top leadership roles played by women at Expo will smash stereotypes of Arab women.

"I can speak for myself and for a lot of Arab women… there is a huge misconception about women from this region, on our competencies, our capabilities, on our rights that are granted to us and what we are able to achieve. So, I think having women in leadership positions really helps. It is an opportunity to clear these misconceptions," said Gergawi.

Al Hashimy, the Managing Director of Expo 2020, is the powerhouse who is leading the charge in organising the mega event dubbed the biggest show on earth between October 1 and March 31.

Speaking at a webinar titled 'Women Behind Expo' held by the UAE embassy in the US on Thursday in connection with the Emirati Women's Day, Al Gergawi said over 50 per cent of the workforce at Expo comprised of women, 60 per cent of are Emirati women in leadership positions.

As UAE celebrates its golden jubilee this year, she said the leadership of the country has made it clear that women are at the foundation of its success and empowering women are very much in tandem in the next year 50 years of the United Arab Emirates.

Hind Alowais, Vice President, Participant Management at Expo 2020, said the fact that Expo 2020 is led by a woman speaks volumes about what Arab women are capable of and the UAE's commitment to women empowerment.

Speaking about the importance of having a women's pavilion at Expo 2020, Alowais said that since the UAE's inception, the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed, believed that women are equal partners in the nation.

"You cannot imagine having this Expo without paying tribute to women who have played a significant role in nation-building."

She said the agenda of women's equality is very much at the centre of development issues and no country has achieved or reached the goal of addressing the issue of inequality completely.

She added that the global platform of Expo is apt to bring in countries, thought leaders, NGOs, private and public entities - to create a space to come together and think about how to advance this agenda further.

In collaboration with Cartier, the women's pavilion will have more than 1500 events lined to highlight the contributions made by women and push the agenda of women empowerment.

For instance, there will be a huge exhibition titled 'New perspectives – when women thrives, humanity thrives.' There will also be a women's majlis where discussions will be hosted regarding the role of women in Arabia, Islam, sustainability, and sports, among others.

Al Owais said a big forum would also be held along with Australia and other countries on building an inclusive space for sports and addressing stereotypes.

Nadia Ziyadeh, Deputy Director, Expo Unit – US Consulate General, said the US pavilion would also have a line of events and programmes around women empowerment, further demonstrating how the US is committed to the issue of equality and women empowerment.

More news from Expo 2020