Queen Rania delivers speech at Global Women’s Forum, Receives award for her advocacy

February 23, 2016

*“A society’s expectations of women directly reflect its confidence in their abilities and potential.”

*“We need to actively fight currents that are trying to throw us centuries behind.”

* “Many Arab women have faced so many tragedies that their lives have been turned around into worst case scenarios.

*“We are stuck hovering over the same ground, prevented by the winds of conflicts, inherited boundaries, and backward ideologies.”

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah challenged an audience of international leaders to break inherited molds that have been imposed on women, and pursue innovation in improving their standing.

Her remarks came in a keynote speech at the opening of the Global Women’s Forum in Dubai on Tuesday, where she was also was awarded the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal of Honor for Women.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, personally conceived the medal to honor and celebrate leading women for their achievements.

The award was given in recognition of Queen Rania’s invaluable impact as a champion for women's empowerment across the Arab Region.

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, presented the award to Her Majesty.

In her speech, Queen Rania said that “a society’s expectations of women directly reflect its confidence in their abilities and potential.”

Her Majesty explained that the infiltration of Arab societies by extremist ideologies requires an exceptional urgency for change and demands leaps in progress. “We need to actively fight currents that are trying to throw us centuries behind,” the Queen said.

“Many Arab women have faced so many tragedies that their lives have been turned around into worst case scenarios,” she added.
Referring to the growing and complicated problems of the Arab World, Queen Rania stated that “we are stuck hovering over the same ground, prevented by the winds of conflicts, inherited boundaries, and backward ideologies.”

Her Majesty said that “a powerful push forward” was necessary. She explained that modern technology can help transform education, create jobs, and overcome the barriers women face.

 “We have tools that give women a louder voice, and a wider space to participate and advocate,” Queen Rania said. She underlined the importance of using creative skills, unconventional solutions, and new approaches to prompt quick and lasting change.

In her speech, she referred to the success stories of several Arab women, who have employed modern technology to serve their societies, as only a sliver of countless initiatives by Arab female pioneers.

Underlining the breakthroughs the UAE has achieved through its leaders vision, Her Majesty said: “there is no better place than the UAE to inspire participants to innovate.” She commended the determination and wise leadership of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoom in developing the Emirate of Dubai into an oasis of prosperity. 

Queen Rania also highlighted Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak’s role in pushing the women of her country to excel in many sectors. She added that Sheikha Fatima became “a role model for women by raising the bar and encouraging them to look beyond boundaries.”

In the conclusion of her speech, the Queen underscored the Arab World’s dire need to catch up with global trends. She said this would “require strong, knowledgeable, and ambitious women that can help our societies stand strong again and help us realize our full potential.”

Other speakers at the opening of the forum included Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayhan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, President of the UAE Federal National Council.