Supreme Council for Planning and Development joins hands with the European Union and other Partners for a High-Level Event on the role of business in promoting Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs)
Kuwait City, 27 November 2021 - The General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GSSCPD), the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Kuwait, UNDP, UN Women, Al Hamra Real Estate Co. and the Women’s Research and Studies Center at the College of Social Sciences at Kuwait University are convening a high-level event entitled: ‘Driving Women’s Empowerment Forward: WEPs and the Role of Business to Accelerate Equality in the Workplace’, on Monday, 29 November 2021 from 10:00-12:00 at Grand Cinemas, Al Hamra Shopping Center in Kuwait.
The high-level event aims to showcase the progress achieved to date in the area of women’s economic empowerment, exchange best practices from Kuwait, the European Union and from further afield and ultimately inspire other companies to embrace a gender balanced agenda in their own organizations. It will aim to raise awareness about the WEPs and highlight Kuwait’s leading private sector companies who have publicly endorsed these principles and serve as a platform to welcome new WEPs’ signatories to the global WEPs’ community.
Speakers at the event will include H.E. Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the GSSCPD; H.E. Dr. Cristian Tudor, Ambassador of the European Union to the State of Kuwait; H.E. Ambassador Talal Al-Mutairi, Assistant Foreign Minister for Human Rights of Kuwait; Dr. Lubna Alkazi, Director of the Women’s Research and Studies Center at Kuwait University; Ms. Hana Alhajeri, Head of the Higher Council for Family Affairs; Ms. Hideko Hadzialic, Resident Representative of UNDP in Kuwait as well as Ms. Janneke van der Graaff-Kukler, UN Women Deputy Regional Director for the Arab States and Mr. Stefan Schleuning, Head of Unit at the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments at the European Commission, both of whom will join virtually. A number of senior leaders from Kuwait’s leading private companies will also join the event, including old and new WEPs’ signatories.
The in-person event is held in the context of EU-Kuwait informal Human Rights Dialogue between the European External Action Service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, which also focuses on women’s empowerment. Equality between men and women is a core value and a fundamental right of the European Union. It has been enshrined in the EU treaties since 1957.
Speaking ahead of the event, H.E. Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the GSSCPD confirmed Kuwaiti government's support for the Women's Empowerment Principles in accordance with the Development Plan and Vision 2035 and stated that the majority of the total workforce in the General Secretariat of the GSSCPD are women, a sign of the importance of the participation of women in the national workforce. He stressed the importance of the role of women in the economy, especially in the private sector, and explained the vital role of the private sector in Kuwait hiring women, providing them with training and development opportunities and allowing them to take up executive and supervision jobs.
Bringing the EU perspective, H.E. Dr Cristian Tudor, EU Ambassador to Kuwait added that women have been the worst hit by Covid-19, emphasizing that the EU is putting them at the heart of its response to build back better. ‘In order to achieve a sustainable, inclusive and fair recovery, women must be part of the decision-making processes in all sectors, at all levels. We are delighted to share our experience with our Kuwaiti and international partners, committed to driving women’s empowerment forward and building a truly gender-equal world that makes us all future-ready where no-one is left behind’, he added.
Dr. Lubna Alkazi, Director of the Women’s Research and Studies Center at Kuwait University stated that: ‘On 29th November 2021 Kuwait will be holding the third event for signing the Women’s Empowerment Principles, a UN initiative that plays an important role in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5. This goal is to achieve gender equality at all levels of the workplace. As Kuwaiti women with university degrees are double that of men, it makes sound economic sense to benefit from their capabilities at all levels. This is a reflection of the New Kuwait vision 2035.’
Ms. Janneke van der Graaff-Kukler, UN Women Deputy Regional Director for the Arab States, welcomed the companies signing the WEPs CEO Statement of Support, and commended the current members who are participating in the Orange Kuwait campaign for the elimination of violence against women. She noted that ‘it is critically important to tap into the high levels of education of women, what they have achieved, and translate this into jobs and leadership opportunities. Kuwait is a champion of the Women’s Empowerment Principles in the region’.