The Permanent Mission of Qatar to the United Nations in New York, in co-operation with India, Japan, Sweden, Tanzania and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ECWA), organised a high-level event on the sidelines of the 65th session of the UN's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), on promoting women's political participation to achieve goals of sustainable development and improved redevelopment.
The high-level event focused on discussing and addressing strategies and interventions to accelerate the adoption of laws and practices, to improve conditions for women's participation in public life across the region. During the event, the effects of inequality in the representation of women in public life at the socio-economic level in its broader context on women and girls were highlighted, and the participation of women in political life in the Arab region was reviewed.
The virtual event was attended by Member of Shura Council Dr Hend al-Muftah, Assistant Undersecretary of Digital Society Development Sector at MOTC and Member of Shura Council Reem al-Mansouri, Permanent Representative of India to the UN T S Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of Japan ambassador Ishikane Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Sweden ambassador Anna Karin Enestrom, Permanent Representative of Tanzania ambassador Kennedy Godfrey Gastorn, and the GU's Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security Ambassador Melanne Verveer.
The participants in the panel discussion included UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP's Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Haoliang Xu, Executive Secretary of the UN's ESCWA Rola Dashti, Deputy Speaker of Tanzanian Parliament Dr Tulia Ackson, Member of Indian Parliament Poonam Mahajan, Former Minister of Social Security in Sweden Annika Strandhall, Japan's Parliamentary Vice-Minister of both Defence and the Cabinet Office and Member of the House of Councilors of Japan Rui Matsukawa, and Permanent Observer of the UN's Inter-Parliamentary Union Patricia Torsney.
During her opening speech, HE Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif al-Thani affirmed the importance of the 65th session of the women's commission, which highlights women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. She also noted the importance of Qatar's Shura Council elections which will be held in October of 2021, stating that these elections creates a historic opportunity for Qatari women, whether they were candidates or voters.
For her part, HE Member of Shura Council Dr Hend al-Muftah, who moderated the high-level panel discussion, highlighted the importance of the Shura Council elections, saying that after one year of the pandemic, Qatar will witness in October a special event that will bring future repercussions not only for the country, but for the whole region as well, pointing out that it is the first Shura Council elections in the country. She added that the Council will grant unprecedented legislative and oversight power, as it will become a key milestone for women to participate and serve the country by voting or holding office, explaining that Qatar seeks to build foundations that create an increased representation of women, noting the training courses for political empowerment that are offered by HBKU, in addition to the discussions and the advisory sessions which are presented by the university's professors, as well as Arab women who have gone through the same political experience.
HE Member of Shura Council Reem al-Mansouri emphasised the support provided by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, to reinforce women's positions to play a fundamental role in achieving the sustainable development goals. She also stressed the necessity for gender parity, noting that it can be achieved with political will and perseverance. In her intervention, she said that Qatar has made very positive and strong steps towards women's rights.
She also underlined the importance of the first free and direct elections for the Shura Council that Qatar will witness to strengthen democracy and the role of women, which will be essential, expressing her confidence in the broad participation of women in those elections. HE al-Mansouri also hailed the success of Qatari women in assuming very high positions in Qatar and at the international level, highlighting the efforts made by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and Education Above All, at the national, regional and international levels, as she contributed to the development of women's rights and the education for all.