Minister Rania Al Mashat Participates in UN’s Women Political Leaders Session, Emphasizes Women’s Economic Empowerment in COVID-19 Crisis Response - Screenshot
CAIRO - 24 September 2020: In celebration of the UN 7th Anniversary and for UNGA, Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al Mashat highlighted the importance of addressing women’s economic empowerment in COVID-19 crisis response.
This comes within her participation in UN’s Global Impact’s virtual event at a Women Political Leaders’ session titled “21st Century Strategy: More women is good for business,” which saw the participation of other influential women including Maris Lauri, member of the parliament and deputy Chair of the Finance Committee, Nadia Calviño, Third Vice President, Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Spain (TBC), and Ann Cairns, Vice-Chair at Mastercard (TBC) and representative from Mckinsey and Company (TBC).
“Women’s participation is macro-critical: the GDP grows, productivity increases and the incomes of men increase as well, leading to a spillover effect for both men and women,” Dr Rania Al Mashat noted.
This was highlighted in the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s report published in 2015, titled, ‘Women in Business and Management: Gaining, which proved that improving equality between women and men is a smart business strategy. Out of the 13,000 enterprises surveyed from across the globe, 60% reported that advancing gender diversity boosts profitability and productivity. The report also revealed that increasing women’s participation in the labour force leads to an overall improvement in national gross domestic product.
The minister highlighted that while the COVID-19 pandemic has redefined women as a ‘vulnerable group’ due to women holding the burden of unpaid care and effects of unemployment, she emphasized that seeing women as an economic resource would push governments to push forward with the agenda and implement legislation.
With the revival of the spirit of solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic, Al Mashat referred to the example of the Gender Gap Accelerator, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East and Africa that was in collaboration with the National Council for Women and the World Economic Forum. It is a national public-private collaboration model that allows governments and businesses to take decisive action to close economic gender gaps.
To increase women’s participation in the labor force, the minister highlighted the significance of role models and producing tangible outcomes to create positive examples, referring to her successes as a former minister of tourism in a male-dominated industry and her successes in achieving the highest tourism revenues in the country’s history.
For her part, Amy Weaver, president, legal and corporate affairs at Salesforce, added that “it is not diversity if you cannot be heard. If your voice cannot be heard, you’re not able to bring all your talents to the company.”
Weaver added that true inclusion entails understanding different ways of being a leader and relying on your own skills and talents to achieve successes.
Al Mashat also participated with Women Political Leaders during UN’s “SDG Action Zone” last year for “When Women Lead” session, focusing on the fifth pillar of the Egypt—Tourism Reform Program that addressed thee economic empowerment of women and capacity building.