International Women's Day 2021: Women's Leadership in the Arab Region
International Women’s Day, globally celebrated every 8 March, serves as a time to acknowledge the invaluable social, economic, cultural, and political contributions of women and girls, while also committing to a just and equitable future for all.
International Women’s Day 2021 came in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Therefore, the 2021 United Nations’ theme for International Women's Day was: "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world." This was aligned with the theme for 65th Commission on the Status of Women: “Women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
UN ESCWA celebrated International Women’s Day under the theme of women’s leadership, broadly defined, in the Arab region with a virtual event. In highlighting women’s leadership, UN ESCWA engaged with a panel of experts from across the region and across sectors to discuss gains made in women’s leadership and how these gains can be preserved and built upon in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual event began with brief introductory remarks from UN ESCWA Executive Secretary, Dr. Rola Dashti. A spoken word performance by Ms. Sarah Houmani followed. Then, Cluster Leader, Dr. Mehrinaz El Awady moderated an Experts Panel that included:
- Ms. Deema M. Akel, Deputy General Manager of Bank Al Etihad (Jordan)
- Ms. Besma Al-Qassar, Founder and president of the Women Mentor Forum (WMF) (Kuwait)
- Dr. Joyce Azzam, Mountaineer, Conservation Architect and Humanitarian (Lebanon)
- Ms. Leen El Harake, Student leader and activist at the Lebanese American University (Lebanon)
Concluding remarks were shared by Dr. Hana Al-Hajiri, Secretary General, High Council for Family Affairs of Kuwait.