Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), the Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP), Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) and the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) initiative have pledged to support the advancement of women as drivers of sustainable economic growth.
All four Abu Dhabi-based sustainability initiatives were key participants in the inaugural Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS), a collaboration between NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Held on December 4-5, the event convened key stakeholders in shaping government and private sector policy aimed at empowering women in the global economy.
Themed ‘Women Excelling in the Economy’, the Summit promotes equal opportunities for women in local, regional and global value chains – as entrepreneurs, business owners and employees. Specific economic sectors were highlighted in order to encourage objective-setting, industry best practice, and knowledge sharing.
Masdar, ZFEP, ADSW and WiSER together made the following pledges:
Reem Bin Karam, Director of the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, said: “We are thrilled to see the commitments made by Masdar, ZFEP, ADSW and WiSER in realising our vision for a more optimised workforce with equal opportunities for women. WEEGS wants to push the boundaries of women in leadership roles by providing programmes that are based on strong partnerships between men and women to utilise women talents in the workforce, and these pledges contribute to this initiative.”
Commenting on the importance of women in leadership roles, Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and Programme Director, WiSER, said: “Research has shown that having both men and women in leadership roles is critical to good governance and to maintaining a long-term perspective in business planning – both are critical elements of sustainable economic growth.
“In fact, it is estimated that advancing gender equality can add between US$12-28 trillion to global growth and companies with higher female representation in top management roles outperform those that do not. These figures cannot be ignored. We need to join the movement and commit to improving women’s access to higher education and leadership roles in different institutions.”
Anca Westley, Director of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, said: “Women are half the workforce in most countries, but while considerable progress is being made, women are still not adequately empowered in many cases and recognition of their economic value lags behind. In order to deliver sustainable economic development, it is essential that we capitalise on the strengths of both men and women. Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week provides a global platform for women business leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, and other female thought leaders and decision makers, to collaborate in advancing renewable energy and sustainability. We are pleased to support the role of NAMA in empowering women, ensuring their contribution is appreciated at all levels of society.”
WiSER, founded by Masdar and ZFEP, aims to empower and inspire women to be catalysts of innovation and the drivers of commercial solutions. At WEEGS, WiSER held a robust panel discussion themed “Energy and Environment: The Missing Piece” to discuss the actions needed to redress gender balance in the economy, while driving diversity in those critical growth areas supporting long-term sustainable development.
Among those taking part were Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Deputy Director General Emirates Diplomatic Academy and Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize; Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation Officer, Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, GE; and Dr Behjat Al Yousuf, Deputy Provost, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (part of Khalifa University of Science and Technology).
The youth’s perspective on inspiring young women in the workforce, while increasing their presence and ability to influence change, was shared through a presentation by Zarin Tasnim Isra, a student at Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia School, the 2013 Zayed Future Energy Prize Global High Schools category winner.