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Ivanka Trump meets Sheikh Mohammad, praises UAE’s reforms on women’s rights

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Dubai: Emirati women’s representation in UAE’s economy will rise in the coming years as the country continues its women empowerment drive, the US president’s advisor and daughter Ivanka Trump told the Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) on Sunday.

Ivanka, in her keynote during GWFD’s official opening, said the UAE leadership is commendable for “removing barriers to women joining the workforce and developing a national strategy that recognises women as central to sustainable growth”.

She thanked His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, for promoting women’s participation in Dubai and the UAE.

Shaikh Mohammad and Shaikh Hamdan attended the official opening of GWFD. Also attending were Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, senior officials, dignitaries and 3,000 delegates from 87 countries.

IVANKA TRUMP, Advisor to the President of the USA, delivers a keynote speech at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 on 16th February, 2020. Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Upward trend

Ivanka told the gathering: “Last year [2019], more than 70 per cent of Emirati university graduates were women, yet only 10 per cent of UAE’s total national income is derived from women and we know that this is going to grow and flourish in the years ahead. Progress ultimately builds upon progress.”

The UAE and US, as founding members of the We-Fi (Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative), have in the past two years “mobilized $2.6 billion [Dh9.55 billion] of both public and private sector funding that invests in more than 100,000 women-owned businesses in the developing world”, Ivanka added.

Regional reforms

Women’s rights and progress in various spheres has been increasing in the region, Ivanka said, particularly in the UAE and five other countries. She congratulated Saudi Arabia for reforms leading to “respecting women’s right to freedom of movement and access to financial services”. Saudi Arabia started granting driving licenses to women in 2018.

Ivanka also praised Bahrain for introducing legislation to prevent discrimination against women in the workplace; Jordan for “eliminating legal restrictions on women’s ability to work at night”; Morocco for expanding women’s land rights; and Tunisia for introducing “critical laws for combating domestic violence”.

IVANKA TRUMP, Advisor to the President of the USA, delivers a keynote speech at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 on 16th February, 2020. Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News

American experience

Meanwhile in the US, “American women are leading in every aspect of society”, compared to the times when they could not open a bank account, she said. Women secured 70 per cent of new jobs in the US in 2019 and today represent 40 per cent of “primary breadwinners” in families.

Ivanka also highlighted the 2019 launch by US President Donald Trump of Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, also known as WGDP. She described it as the “first-ever coordinated US government approach to global women’s economic empowerment”. WGDP has “impacted more than 12 million women” in the developing world in its first year alone, Ivanka said, adding its “ambitious goal” is to reach at least 50 million women by 2025.

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