Gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow: A message from HE Mona Al Moayyad on International Women’s Day 2022

Gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow: A message from HE Mona Al Moayyad on International Women’s Day 2022 8 March 2022

As Chair of the AIWF Executive Committee, I am delighted to extend the warm wishes of the AIWF Board to all our Global Partners, Members and friends around the world in the international business and development communities on the special occasion of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022.

Each year, we are guided by UN Women’s IWD campaign theme, which for 2022 is Gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow. This year’s theme recognises the immense contributions of women and girls around the world to climate change action, building a more sustainable future for us all. We are all of course very proud that the Executive Director of UN Women appointed in 2020, Sima Sami Bahous, is an Arab woman, and as we have done every year we reiterate our full support to the mission of UN Women, on International Women’s Day and every day.

AIWF wholeheartedly agrees with UN Women’s finding that “achieving gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century”, and that “the issues of climate change and sustainability have had and will continue to have, severe and lasting impacts on our environment, economic and social development”, especially on women, who are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change than men.

However, there is great hope for the region on gender and the climate agenda. Women are increasingly recognised as powerful leaders and change agents in the vital mission of climate adaptation and mitigation, in the Arab region and in every part of the world. Women are not only participating in but also leading key sustainability initiatives around the world designed to tackle the gender dimension of climate change and mitigate gendered impacts. There is also a promising emphasis at international level on finding innovative solutions to climate problems, and ensuring that women have an equal voice and a top seat at the table as we seek to implement gender equality for a more sustainable tomorrow.

AIWF is proud to be a part of that process, bringing high-level stakeholders together through our international advocacy work to raise awareness of the need to mitigate climate impact in the Arab world. We have made significant contributions within our key area of focus – the impact of climate change on rural women, on refugee populations, and in the context of sustainable agriculture, encompassing food security and water scarcity – all critical development issues for the region which will take concerted, multi-stakeholder action to address and on which we are proud to lead.

Recent AIWF initiatives on the role of women in climate action, and on rural women, sustainable agriculture, food security and water scarcity, have included (to give just a few examples):

We all agree that the action we take today is integral to building a more sustainable tomorrow; as UN Women puts it: “Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach.” Although we all acknowledge that there is still a long way to go, Arab women have laid down all the important groundwork to empower and enable a sustainable, more equitable and inclusive future. We have made important contributions to discourse on sustainable development in the region, and the attention of the world is on us as we strive to achieve the ambitious 2030 Goals as a region and as part of the global community.

I am pleased to write this at the start of an exciting year of growth and transformation for AIWF, marking our 21st year since our founding in London in 2001 by Haifa Al Kaylani to lead the drive for sustainable empowerment for women and young people in the MENA Region. AIWF is proud to have served for two decades as a leading development organisation working to promote and enhance women’s inclusion in the economy, in society, and in political life, in the MENA region and internationally.

Those of you already familiar with AIWF know that we have long been at the forefront of action on many of the region’s critical development and sustainability challenges, initiating vital dialogue and valuable connections, powering new projects, strategies, and initiatives to promote women’s leadership and youth empowerment, in business, in public service, entrepreneurship, academia and civil society.

Our programmes and initiatives bring together an international coalition of corporate, institutional, academic, and international development partners to innovate viable, impact-driven solutions and strategies for private sector growth, economic competitiveness, and job creation; gender diversity in the MENA labour market and in the workplace; entrepreneurship and STEM innovation in the MENA region; and climate change, water scarcity and food insecurity.

For AIWF, our focus in the region has always been real, lasting and sustainable empowerment for women and youth, and all of us on the AIWF Board are exceptionally proud to devote our efforts and commitment to supporting a strong role for Arab women in that process.

AIWF looks forward to sharing details of the AIWF 2022 Programme in the near future, and to amplifying our efforts – with the support of our valued Global Partners – to celebrate and recognise the many women in the MENA region who work tirelessly towards a better and more sustainable future for all. I take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful International Women’s Day 2022.

HE Mona Al Moayyad
Chair, AIWF Executive Committee