HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation (QF), has reaffirmed their commitment to bring the widest possible range of perspectives to crucial issues and challenges – announcing a pledge that will see women make up at least half the panel speakers at all its conferences and events, locally and internationally.
The groundbreaking pledge – which will take effect from the start of 2020 across the organisation, a key player in Qatar’s economic and social transformation through its initiatives in education, science and research, and community development – means participants in discussions and debates at every QF event, from summits to workshops, will always be no less than 50% female.
Announced following the recent celebration of International Women’s Day, the move builds on the impact QF has made over more than two decades, in providing opportunities for people to participate in driving the advancement of society on a local and global scale – regardless of gender, background, and culture – and to fostering diversity and inclusivity.
Supporting the United Nations focus on female empowerment as a crucial aspect of addressing economic, social and political challenges, the pledge aims to strengthen dialogue and action on platforms within Qatar, across the Middle East and North Africa region, and around the world; and ensure that both male and female perspective is applied to the task of tackling issues that lie at the core of economic, social, and human development
According to Sheikha Hind neither gender nor any other consideration should present a barrier to a person’s development, their pursuit of opportunity, and their voice being heard in global conversations about topics, themes, and challenges that affect all of society.
The pledge we announce today is a natural, visible, and powerful extension of this belief. Through our investment in education and our ethos as an organisation, Qatar Foundation’s commitment to providing opportunities for everyone to be an active participant in society is personified by the diversity of the achievers and role models we nurture, and the impact they are making in a wide spectrum of fields within Qatar and beyond.
Now, by committing to having at least 50% female representation on all our conference and event panels from 2020 onward, we aim to further emphasise Qatar Foundation’s role as a leader and driver of inclusivity and positive social change, nationally and regionally – and the necessity of both men and women being part of making this change happen.’
Qatar Foundation’s Education City – ‘multiversity’ – home to nine universities – has a predominantly female student body, in which half of its engineering students are women. Women also comprise 40% of QF leadership.
Among the platforms that will represent the QF ’50 percent female’ pledge on the international stage are the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) and the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), QF initiatives focused on shaping the future of education and healthcare through innovation and global collaboration.
WISH CEO Sultana Afdhal said that historically, women have been underrepresented in leadership roles within the global healthcare sector.
At WISH we work hard to give voice to all within our extensive international community who are looking to play a part in building a healthier world, whether through participation at our flagship Doha summit or at any of the other events we convene throughout the year.
If all voices are to be listened to and all ideas are to be given the same attention, concerted efforts must be made to ensure that experts from both genders are provided with the same opportunities to join the conversation. With this in mind, WISH wholeheartedly supports and embraces the QF pledge to promote equality of representation on its panels.’
WISE CEO Stavros N Yiannouka, meanwhile, said that as a global education platform committed to promoting inclusion and diversity in education, WISE has provided visibility opportunities to a diverse mix of renowned experts and thought leaders regardless of gender, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.
Updates and more information about Qatar Foundation available on their website, qf.org.qa.