Queen Rania’s remarks at the Women’s Leadership Initiative Brunch - NY, USA

February 03, 2002

I just want to say that, given the situation of the world in the last few months, there’s been a lot of talk about women and Islam. There’s been a lot of focus on women in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and in other countries, and some of the harsh conditions that they were living under. As a result, I think there were some misconceptions tying the conditions of Muslim women with Islam itself, an understanding that maybe Islam denies women their rights.

However, I want to point out that a lot of the challenges that these women face are shared by other developing countries who may not even be Muslim. The point is that women in the developing world all share similar challenges, and it’s very important for them to be educated on their own rights. Only then can they really strive to be pro-active in making sure that those rights are met. So education is very important.

In the world that we live in today, there are many creative ways of trying to make sure that women get their rights. We can today forge partnerships with the private sector, with NGOs, and with individuals. I was just at a NetAid event, and they just launched a program to educate women in different parts of the world. They’re reaching thousands and thousands of women. And this is an American multinational. So I just want to say that, these days, we all could be very creative in forging partnerships, and education is probably the most important thing in that. We need examples in our part of the world of women who have succeeded, because when we have role models, that can help women move forward in our part of the world.