Queen Rania of Jordan: "When you empower women you empower the whole society"
Her Majesty Queen Rania Abdullah of Jordan, today called on Arab societies to break the "mould" that restricts women’s participation in social development. "We share a common challenge - to actively fight currents that are trying to throw us centuries behind. Despite best attempts and achievements, we are restricted by conflicts and backward ideologies," Queen Rania told a full audience at Madinat Jumeirah, while giving her keynote address at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai.
The Forum was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, who presented medals of honour to Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and to Her Majesty Queen Rania.
Earlier, the dignitaries and delegates were welcomed on behalf of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and Chairperson of Dubai Women’s Establishment (DWE), by Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice-President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and President of DWE.
"We are honoured and proud to host the Global Women’s Forum in the Arab World for the first time. We are inspired by the path of innovation shown by our leadership.
"The future is full of opportunities," Al Marri said, as she invited Queen Rania to give her keynote address.
Queen Rania, following up on the ‘moulds’ that restrict women said, "We have to break the moulds that shape women and girls from the moment they are born. These moulds, which have been passed on through generations, restrict the development of a woman’s capability, talent and ambition. We must carefully select from our history and culture the principles that give every woman the opportunity to spread her wings and show us her distinct colours.
She said such moulds are based on culture and not religion. "Islam freed women from age of ignorance. They were traders, farmers, warriors and businesswomen," she pointed out.
She said, "It is in our hands – with the promise of modern technology and innovation – to overcome any barriers facing women.
"Innovation breaks moulds. Innovation possibilities are infinite. Employ modern technology to create new society," Queen Rania said while praising the UAE leadership in creating an atmosphere for innovation to succeed.
She said, "There is no better place than the United Arab Emirates to inspire participants to innovate, for like all innovations, the Emirate of Dubai started when Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, imagined an oasis of prosperity and development that competes on the international level in countless fields. He looked into the desert and he saw Dubai."
Queen Rania pointed out that any society’s expectations of women directly reflects that society’s potential.