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European Union at EXPO Dubai 2020
News article8 March 2022European External Action Service3 min read

EU convenes high-level panel discussions on women’s participation in politics, STEM and culture

European and GCC leaders discussed policy actions to bridge the gender gap on International Women’s Day at Expo 2020 Dubai.

EU Women's Day Event

The European Union co-hosted a series of high-level panel discussions on policy actions to enable broader participation of women in politics, different branches of government, STEM professions as well as in the creative sectors.  The activities were part of EU’s commitment to Inclusivity and Equality, with a special focus on women’s empowerment, a theme which the EU has been consistently promoting throughout Expo 2020 Dubai. They were held in partnership with France and Italy, as part of the Team Europe approach.

Held under the “Widening the Pool: Harnessing Women’s Talents and Abilities for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ theme, the events brought together top European and GCC leaders and experts to share best policy practices and inspire action to bridge the gender gap and enable a more meaningful role for women and girls in the post-pandemic economic recovery.

Speaking ahead of the opening ceremony, H.E. Andrea Matteo Fontana, EU Ambassador to the UAE and EU Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai said: “Gender inequality is not an issue that can be addressed on its own. If we are to make meaningful headway to reduce the gender gap, we should mainstream gender across policy actions and integrate a gender-perspective into everything we do to promote equality and tackle gender-based discrimination in all walks of life.’’

In her opening remarks, H.E. Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Government, Development, and the Future stressed the importance of building alliances to support women in governments globally and emphasized the crucial role of female government leaders in inspiring and motivating the new generation of women to actively embrace the government work. Her Excellency stated that International Women’s Day is an important occasion to celebrate women and their achievements around the world and to reflect on what needs have to be done to embrace women’s empowerment. Al Roumi noted that female government leaders have a huge responsibility to inspire the new generation of women in governments, support young women, build their capacities, and invest in their talents to contribute to government development. Her Excellency further added that the World Government Summit, to be held later this month, is a platform for empowering women and promoting their roles in the government. The 8th edition of the Summit will host the Women in Government Leadership Platform aiming to improve the inclusivity of women at all levels of government leadership.

In his closing remarks, H.E. Xavier Chatel, Ambassador of France to the UAE, said: “France is making gender equality a priority, which we strongly promote in all international fora. Women and girls are more affected than men by poverty, conflicts – or even climate change. This is why France is committed to ensuring that by 2025, 75% of our projects financed by French public aid agencies will promote gender equality. Together we must continue our efforts to achieve gender equality.”

Speaking on women’s participation in institutions and culture, H.E. Paolo Glisenti, Commissioner General of Italy for Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Italy at Expo 2020 Dubai intends to contribute to the bridging of gender gap by promoting an active global policy-making approach inspired by the importance of women in justice, in diplomacy, in science and women in culture to make sustainability and resilience a possible goal. The Expo has shown how women’s leadership, vision and empowerment are fundamental for a future of growth, peace and innovation”.

Other speakers included: H.E. Élisabeth Moreno, French Minister in charge of Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities; H.E. Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Government; Development and the Future, H.E. Marta Cartabia, Italian Minister of Justice; H.E. Elena Bonetti, Italian Minister for Family and Equal Opportunities and H.E. Sheikha Hala Mohammed Al Khalifa, Director of Culture and Arts Directorate at the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Bahrain.                               

In addition to these panel discussions, the European Union joined forces with the Women's Pavilion in collaboration with Cartier at Expo 2020 for a timely session on women and climate, calling for gender-responsible solutions in the fight against climate change. Many senior EU leaders also expressed their support to the ‘Break the Bias’ pledge with three of the European Commission Vice Presidents contributing to the Letter to the Future Generation Initiative. The European Union also participated to UN Women SDG5 Summit that took place on 9 March 2022.


Publication date
8 March 2022 (Last updated on: 8 March 2022)
European External Action Service