DUBAI– The Women’s Pavilion by Expo 2020 Dubai, in collaboration with Cartier, brought together government and institutional leaders and change-makers – men and women – to discuss women’s leadership and tackle barriers that remain in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. It has left a thought and action-provoking message that transcends gender and age.
Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to receive the event-specific Gender Equality European and International Standard for workplace equality, and the first in more than 50 years to host a standalone pavilion dedicated to women – a pavilion that inspired the 340,000-plus visitors who entered its doors, including more than 3,500 school students.
Hind Alowais, Senior Vice President, Participant Management, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai is a real-life example of the limitless possibilities achievable when gender equality and women’s empowerment are embedded into the ethos of an organisation, resulting in the conceptualisation and delivery of a dedicated pavilion to raise awareness and advance collective action on Sustainable Development Goal 5. Together with Cartier, we challenged misconceptions about the roles women have played throughout history until today and built a community of advocates who will help women rise – because as we demonstrated throughout the six months of our World Expo, when women thrive, humanity thrives.”
Sophie Doireau, CEO for Middle East India and Africa, Cartier, said: “We are extremely proud of the impact we have had throughout the past six months, showcasing to millions of people that when women thrive, humanity thrives. This has been a truly meaningful and impactful journey, taking Cartier’s commitment to women’s empowerment and gender equality to the next level, sharing new perspectives that challenge the status quo and demonstrating the potential of meaningful collaborations. Looking ahead, we will build on this legacy and continue to develop unique alliances, coalitions and initiatives that contribute to a better world.”
Trailblazers and thought-leaders took to the stage physically and virtually to share their visions, strategies, and policies for a gender-equal future while providing insights into their personal journeys across more than 170 events.
Speakers included Her Excellency Ohood Khalfan Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Government Development and the Future; Her Excellency Epsy Campbell Barr, First Vice President of Costa Rica; Her Excellency Sonja Hyland, Deputy Secretary General Global Issues, Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland; Her Excellency Ambassador Dr Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary General, Head of Social Affairs, League of Arab States; Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Executive Director, UN Women; Kampeta Sayinzoga, CEO, Development Bank of Rwanda; Academy Award-winning actor Rami Malek; and Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, and former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.
Across the 182 days of Expo 2020 Dubai, the message “when women thrive, humanity thrives” was amplified among visitors, who also shared their thoughts and aspirations for the future in the pavilion itself. Among the messages on the pavilion’s walls was a visitor quoting late US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made” – as well as assertions that “Gender equality is at the heart of all the global goals” and “Letting little girls dream, learn and achieve helps ALL. Everyone benefits when girls and women grow.”
The Women’s Pavilion celebrated International Women’s Day under the theme of ‘Break the Bias’ and brought together representatives from governments, corporations and change-makers from around the world. In partnership with Dignified Storytelling, the pavilion also hosted the Middle East’s first female-led music festival as part of its International Women’s Day celebrations, with incredible performers from every corner of the globe reinforcing the ‘Break the Bias’ message. It called on the world to recognise the invisible barriers women face and dismantle harmful biases that hold them back to enable them to reach their full potential in the workplace and in society.
More than 80 of Expo 2020 Dubai’s participating countries also signed a pledge on the day: “On International Women’s Day 2022, we express our support towards understanding positive gender roles and balance between men and women. We commit to building the momentum for gender equality and women’s empowerment to break harmful stereotypes that hinder her progress. Let us “break the bias” and make this world a better, fairer, safer place where women will be able to thrive and live a life of dignity and respect. #BreaktheBias”
In addition to inspiring action on gender equality and women’s empowerment within Expo 2020 Dubai, the message of the Women’s Pavilion was shared at the World Government Summit 2022, which was held under the theme of ‘Shaping Future Governments’. As one of the driving forces behind the pavilion, Hind Alowais presented key learnings, new approaches and innovative pathways to an audience of global leaders, who will take these messages home to their governments where they can be discussed, adapted and acted upon.