QPWN meet emphasises on gender equality & women empowerment

 28 May 2017 - 1:42

QPWN meet emphasises on gender equality & women empowerment
Participants at the networking event. Pic: Salim Matramkot / The Peninsula

By Amna Pervaiz Rao / The Peninsula

Qatar Professional Women Network (QPWN) hosted a networking event titled 'The Evolving Role of Women in the Arab World' in which the guest speakers emphasised on gender equality and women empowerment.
A panel of three distinguished speakers Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Qatar; Ewa Polano, Ambassador of Sweden to Qatar, and Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards, visiting faculty at Brookings Doha Center, spoke at the event.
Zahra Babar, Associate Director for Research Center for International and Regional Studies, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, was the moderator of the discussion.
The discussion was on the successes and barriers in economic and political empowerment of women in the Arab world as well as possible strategies for advancing women in the society. It also discussed the role of expat women in the local community.
Ewa Polano highlighted the current scenario of women's role in governmental and political entities. “In Sweden’s governmental entities and political parties, women have reached to around half of the representation. For 20 years, we are following this pattern to ensure that equality should exist in all the governmental bodies,” Polano added.“In Norway, not in Sweden, there is a legislation that in future 40% of the board of directors, members should be women in the private sector. In Sweden, women hesitate to be selected,” she added.
Beverley Milton-Edwards said: “The role of women in the modern history of the Middle East has evolved and grown significantly. Women have made many progresses in this part of the region and it is extremely inspiring to see women empowered.”
The Netherlands and Sweden rank high on the United Nation’s Development Programme’s Gender Equality Index — ranking third and fourth, respectively.
Dr Bahia G. Tahzib said: “In context of equality, I would say as I always say women are meant to build peace in the society. As a bird has two wings and if one wing is not strong enough the bird is unable to fly. Same is the case between men and women. Equality is necessary.” “We (referring to herself and Swedish ambassador) belong to the public sector and have to take stand for women because women are key players in any society to build peace,” she added.
Polano further said:“I always say this to my Swedish sisters and all the ladies I come across that it is very important to think about your position in the society. Ladies should not stay behind men as equality is essential. Whenever I see any woman on the top in any profession, I admire her and her qualities as she would have won the top position due to her capabilities and talents.”