Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) in Kuwait
“From Principles to Practice”
Under the auspices of Her Excellency Mariam Aqeel Al-Aqeel, Minister of State for Economic Affairs, the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GSSCPD) and the Kuwait University Women’s Research and Studies Center (WRSC) held the third public ceremony for Kuwaiti private sector companies to commit to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs).
The event was convened in partnership with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and hosted by Al Hamra Group at Al-Hamra Business Tower.
Speaking at the ceremony, Her Excellency Mariam Aqeel Al-Aqeel said: “Women in Kuwait represent 50% percent of the local talent, and there is here is no doubt that they are an integral part of the economic progress of the country. If we want to remove barriers that hinder women’s careers, as a nation, it is vital that we work together. We need to shine light on opportunities for both women and men, to tackle challenges and find solutions to foster the growth of our country.”
The event was convened as part of national efforts to promote and accelerate implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. In 2015, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah joined global leaders in pledging to implement Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. In committing to implement WEPs, the Kuwaiti private sector is playing an active role in supporting the achievement of the global sustainable development agenda in Kuwait.
Hideko Hadzialic, Resident Representative UNDP Kuwait said: “By increasing women’s participation in business, we set the example for equality. The United Nations is proud to be a partner in this initiative as we work together towards the economic, political and social progress of the country.”
Janneke Kukler, UN Women Deputy Regional Director for the Arab States congratulated Kuwait on its innovative approach to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and concluded: “UN Women looks forward to working with you to ensure that together we move from principles to practice and that women’s contribution to Kuwait’s national economy is fully optimized.”
Representatives of leading Kuwaiti private sector companies were in attendance, including Shaikha Al Bahar, CEO of the National Bank of Kuwait, and Khaled AbdulRazzaq AlKhaled - CEO, Boursa Kuwait.
Speaking further on WEPS, Dr Lubna Al-Kazi, WRSC Director, said: “Now more than ever, it is of the highest importance to open opportunities for women, and to tackle our society’s perceptions. WEPs are a powerful tool to achieve this. When we support gender diversity, we inspire forward-thinking, open doors for all, and increase economic outcome. We are humbled by the support we have received, this is what will allow us to make strides in taking our country forward.”
The speakers highlighted the State of Kuwait’s vision for women’s economic empowerment and the role of the private sector to achieve this, including through the implementation of WEPs as an integral component of their corporate strategy.
Since October 2018, prominent companies including EQUATE, Al Hamra Real Estate Co, Alghanim, the National Bank of Kuwait, Burgan Bank and Gulf Insurance Company have formally committed to implement the Women’s Empowerment Principles.