Sunday 02 April 2023 - 3:09:20 am

World leaders at Expo say equality is path to humankind’s progress 

  • hind alowais (l)_ _ h_e_ epsy campbell barr (c)_ and ms sonja hyland (r)_ deputy secretary general (1)
  • hind alowais (l)_ i_ h_e_ epsy campbell barr (c)_ and ms sonja hyland (r)_ deputy secretary general glo
  • women’s world majlis - gender equality

DUBAI, 18th January 2021 -- World leaders have emphasised the urgent action for gender equality at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Global Goals Week.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the time needed to bridge the gender gap – which was already at 100 years – by another 36 years. World leaders agree that the need to course-correct and urgently achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment is essential not only for the sake of fulfilling a human right, but also for the advancement of humankind, said a press release issued by the Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday.

Contributing different perspectives on the state of gender equality and women’s empowerment, panellists and speakers at The Women’s World Majlis on Gender Equality, the Mother of All Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), addressed everything from cross-generational approaches to the role of women in peace.

The event took place at the Women’s Pavilion as part of Global Goals Week, under Expo 2020 Dubai’s Programme for People and Planet, serving as a platform for world leaders and change-makers from around the globe to connect and work towards achieving the SDGs.

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, said, "If we can't achieve SDG 5 [Gender Equality], then we can’t achieve the SDGs. When women have less access to healthcare and education, and are more numerous among the poor and hungry, you just can't make progress."

In an earlier panel discussion, speakers agreed that progress required better legislative framework, alongside a change in attitudes.

Epsy Campbell Barr, First Vice President of Costa Rica, said, "We need a network of men working on SDG 5, because many leaders see it as a goal only for women, while other SDGs are for the wider world.

"We need to make major changes and use our budgets to secure equality, and that requires decisions to be made by a large group of people across different organisations."

Sonja Hyland, Deputy Secretary General, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland, said, "Due to Ireland’s own conflict, women, peace and security is a huge part of Ireland’s foreign policy agenda as a member of the UN Security Council, and also its national agenda.

"We have worked on our peace process for four decades and are still implementing it, and we've learnt that if you don't include women, you're not going to have sustainable peace."

Stella Ronner-Grubacic, Ambassador for Gender and Diversity, European External Action Service, said, "The building of infrastructure [policies on gender equality] has been a major achievement of these past few decades and has really changed things. However, now comes the hard part of implementing this infrastructure, which includes gender mainstreaming into our work."

Running from 15th to 22nd January, Expo 2020’s Global Goals Week, in association with the United Nations, aims to drive progress on the achievement of the Global Goals at a critical time of uncertainty in the midst of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Global Goals Week is the seventh of 10 Theme Weeks under Expo 2020’s Programme for People and Planet, offering an exchange of inspiring new perspectives to address the greatest challenges and opportunities of our time.

WAM/Binsal AbdulKader/Hazem Hussein