AIWF Chairman Haifa Al Kaylani participates on a key panel of the T20 Summit on women’s economic inclusion

AIWF Chairman Haifa Al Kaylani participates on a key panel of the T20 Summit on women’s economic inclusion 1 November 2020

AIWF Founder & Chairman Haifa Al Kaylani was invited to participate on a high-level panel discussion of the T20 Summit, Women’s Engagement, Empowerment, and Inclusion for Greater Economic Prosperity – What’s Working, What’s Not? which took place as a virtual event on 31 October – 01 November 2020. As an engagement group of the G20, and part of the inclusive and participatory G20 process, the Think20 (T20) is responsible for connecting and collaborating with regional and international think tanks as an engagement group that contributes to the G20 by serving as the ‘ideas bank’ of the G20; providing research-based policy recommendations to the G20; facilitating interactions between the G20 and the think-tank and research community; and communicating with the broader public about issues of global importance.

The T20 Summit 2020 gathers world-leading thinkers, civil society organizations and international institutions to virtually discuss the latest research-based policy recommendations and matters of global importance. It also serves as an interactive platform for peers to advance and share ideas on building a more prosperous, sustainable and inclusive world. The panel, which took place on 01 November as part of the Women and Youth Policy Peers in Conversation series, was moderated by Professor Zaid Eyadat, Director, Center for Strategic Studies, Jordan, and together with Mrs Al Kaylani also welcomed Dr Maha Al Sulaiman, Deputy Minister, Education Programs, Ministry of Education, Saudi Arabia; and Dr Natasha Ridge, Executive Director, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, UAE.

During the session, Mrs Al Kaylani shared her reflections on the engagement, inclusion and empowerment of women in the MENA Region, and her insights on future of work challenges, both as Chairman of AIWF and as the only Arab Commissioner to have served on the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work (2017-2019). Mrs Al Kaylani said: “There is a new momentum, a new energy that we are seeing in the region towards empowering citizens in the world of work, rethinking traditional labour market models, and supporting entrepreneurship and gender-friendly flexible working models as a direct response to the COVID crisis. In the light of the pandemic many MENA governments are ready to take action to level the playing field for women in the economy, specifically in the private sector and in entrepreneurship. We need to develop and implement policies and measures aimed at addressing the specific challenges that women face and allow them to create their own opportunities to contribute to – and benefit from – economic prosperity.”

She continued: “Accelerating women’s engagement and inclusion in the economy requires us to address the underlying social, economic and cultural challenges that are limiting women’s participation and therefore contributions to economic prosperity”. These include, she said, stagnant growth, low job creation, low productivity jobs, low rates of entrepreneurship; addressing the imbalance in the care economy which disproportionately burdens women; bridging the education/industry disconnect and fixing the poor school-to-work transition; reforming legislation to address gender and innovation gaps; eliminating the barrier of capital and finance which limits women’s economic participation and engagement with entrepreneurship; and addressing the digital divide which threatens to constrain the economic potential of women in the MENA as well as widen inequalities in education and opportunities for lifelong learning.

The T20 produces a communique that incorporates​ the recommendations of the T20 task forces. The T20 Saudi Arabia communique will be shared with G20 leaders for their consideration in the G20 communique during the G20 Summit, which takes place in Riyadh in ​November 2020. Mrs Al Kaylani is proud to have contributed to this important initiative of the T20 and AIWF congratulates the organising committee on an exceptionally well-organised, informative, and engaging Summit. AIWF looks forward to supporting the T20 in actioning the many valuable recommendations that emerged from the Summit discussions.