To commemorate International Women’s Day, and in accordance with the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative Boursa Kuwait hosted women’s empowerment and equal opportunities Initiative, in partnership with the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GSSCPD), Women’s Studies and Research Center (WSRC), the United Nations and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
In accordance with the Kuwait 2035 state vision, spearheaded by His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Kuwait National Development Plan, the initiative promotes women’s economic empowerment and showcases the role of the private sector to ensure women contribution to sustainable national development.
Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Khaled AlKhaled, Chief Executive Officer at Boursa Kuwait, said: “Boursa Kuwait is honored to implement one of the key goals of the United Nations, for women empowerment, on this momentous occasion of International Women’s Day. As a member of the World Federations of Exchanges, we are committed to the implementation of its initiatives and proud to be the first country in the GCC to join this initiative, and become one of the 60 countries around the world to implement it. This initiative also shows how Boursa Kuwait is keen on promoting His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah’s vision of Kuwait 2035 and the National Development Plan. I am a firm believer in the role of the private sector to promote women’s empowerment and create a more sustainable development plan that benefits all Kuwaiti citizens.”
Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, said "We honour this initiative as a symbol of the integration of women into the national economy, recognizing this partnership in word and deed and as an affirmation of the policies of the National Development Plan and its pillars to promote socioeconomic integration in the economic and political components."
Evidences show that increasing women’s participation in the private sector at all levels leads to significant economic dividends. In the Arab states region, studies show that if a 25% increase of women’s role in the workforce was achieved, it could boost gross domestic product (GDP) by $415 billion.
Mr. Murad Wahba, United Nations Assistant Secretary – General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Regional Bureau for Arab States when addressing the media highlighted that, “Investing in women’s economic empowerment is intrinsic to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It sets a direct path towards providing equal opportunities, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth. Yet despite the important progress that has been made in these areas, a large gap between economic opportunities provided to both males and females still exists across all countries and regions. Therefore, in the context of the 2030 Agenda, UN Agencies work with governments around the globe to take actions to improve economic outcomes for women in the context of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, promoting women’s leadership in driving economic growth, and galvanizing political will power”
Dr. Tarek Elsheikh, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Kuwait reiterated that: “The State of Kuwait is keen to continue pushing towards the economic empowerment of women in collaboration with its UN partners and the strategic collaboration framework between UNDP and GSSCPD, stemming from its belief in the importance of women’s empowerment and advancement of their civil, political, economic, and social rights, and in appreciation to the role of the UN in protecting women’s rights and boosting international cooperation in this regard.”
At the forefront of innovation, the private sector is increasingly recognizing that advancing women’s empowerment through business operations and value chains means better talent, higher productivity, more customers, and a stronger bottom line. Business leaders around the world are committing to this initiative by signing Statement of Support and utilizing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) as a critical tool for businesses to empower women in the workplace and contribute to national sustainable development.
Ms. Maryse Rebecca Guimond, the UN Women Regional Deputy Director, a.i. for the Arab States, praised the dedication of the country: “The State of Kuwait is to be congratulated on its commitment to the effective implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. The private sector is the engine for job creation and its engagement in advancing women’s economic empowerment and sustainable development is crucial. Kuwait stands as a model for the Arab region thanks to its dedicated approach to accelerating implementation of SDG 5: Achieve women empowerment. UN Women is proud to partner with the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, the Women’s Studies and Research Centre of Kuwait University, Boursa Kuwait and UNDP to showcase this admirable commitment and highlight how the private sector can also play a key role to ensure effective achievement of SDG 5 and all SDGs.”
Dr. Lubna Alqadi, Director of Women’s Research and Studies Center, said: “This event highlights the need of greater participation of women in the private sector to sustainable development. Women in Kuwait are highly educated and would make have effective partners in decision making and lead the companies to greater productivity. Kuwaiti women have to play a greater role in private sector and it has to begin now”
In line with the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative, Boursa Kuwait, together with its partners, will continue working towards women’s empowerment and inclusive growth. Business leaders will be encouraged to join Women Empowerment Principles community and use the WEPs as guidance for actions that we can all take in the workplace, marketplace and community to empower women and benefit both businesses and people.