Photo: Inter-religious relationships are still taboo in India, particularly in rural areas.
An American Education for Women in Qatar
WEEGS to Seek Empowerment of Women at the Workplace
UAE- Sheikha Jawaher Calls For More Empowerment of Women in the Workplace
Nelly Can't Have a Female Crowd in Saudi Arabia
‘Because I’m A Man,’ Liverpool Star Salah Backs Egypt Women’s Rights
4 Jordanian Women to Be Deported For Practicing Sorcery
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Indian Woman in 'Love Jihad' Case, Akhila Ashokan, Says Was Not Forced To Convert
26 November 2017
An Indian woman whose marriage to a Muslim was annulled at her Hindu father's request has denied she was forcibly converted to Islam, ahead of her testimony in the Supreme Court Monday.
The decision by a local court in May to nullify the marriage and force Akhila Ashokan, 25, to return to live with her parents has caused outrage among woman's rights campaigners.
Her father had petitioned the high court in the southern state of Kerala to annul the marriage, claiming she had been forced into it and made to convert to Islam.
But the court's decision was challenged by her former husband in the supreme court, which asked her to appear in person to give evidence on November 27.
"I am a Muslim. I was not forced. I want to be with my husband!" a Press Trust of India report quoted Ashokan as saying.
The news agency said she made the shouted comment to journalists as she was being whisked away by police to the airport for her flight to New Delhi on Saturday.
Inter-religious relationships are still taboo in India, particularly in rural areas.
The issue has become a flashpoint for nationalists in recent years, with Hindu extremists raising fears of "love jihad" -- claims that young Muslim men were attempting to seduce Hindu women in order to convert them.
Ashokan married in December last year after converting to Islam and changing her name to Hadiya.
She has not been allowed to leave her father's house since the marriage was annulled in May.
The federal investigations agency has said it is looking into alleged links between her husband Shafin Jahan and extremist groups.
He has not been convicted of any crime.
An American education for women in Qatar
Parents in Doha wanted American educators in their city partly because they didn’t want their daughters educated in America. Their hope for this “home-delivery college” was that one could deconstruct a modern university, expose students to the good stuff, and keep them away from the bad. And they especially wanted to shield their daughters from the downsides of Western culture. Learning was fine, acquiring job skills was great, and familiarity with the world at large was okay if necessary. But the other foibles of youth that American campuses contained—social rebellion, sexual experimentation, drug and alcohol abuse, a debased online culture, and secular questioning of religious beliefs—not so good. Admittedly, this parental fantasy of separating the positive from the negative in their kids’ college years is a familiar one outside the Middle East. But in Doha, there’s at least the possibility of paying for the dream.
Has it worked? Has moving Georgetown to Doha removed the perils and produced graduates who can seamlessly fill their expected places in this society? Disentangling the impact of a university on its women graduates is as muddled as unpacking their actual educational experiences. From the women students, much is expected, much is feared. Educated women offer a unique catalyst for changing what are largely patriarchal societies. What these women—now composing 70 percent of the student body—do when they graduate is a key test of whether this type of education can actually transform these societies. Or are women graduates compelled to leave their countries to fully use what they’ve learned, what they’ve become? I spent time listening to educated women, both graduates and faculty, wrestle with their time in and out of school.
Amira took several of my classes and I got to know her as well as any of my students. I watched her develop from a shy, bright, but awkward girl into a socially adept young woman. She entered college with a cynicism that I thought came from living in a society where young girls were expected to listen to older, usually male, adults. Because she was usually smarter than the people she was listening to, she got comfortable quietly disregarding others’ opinions, especially those of us in authority.
I never saw Amira wearing an abaya; she preferred the contemporary casual dress—jeans and long-sleeved blouses—of a globalized teenager with a hint of restraint inherited from her conservative Syrian family. She would not be called conventionally pretty—too many angles on her long, Semitic face—but her large eyes stood out beneath her rimless glasses. She was a diligent student, seldom assertive in class. But her papers reflected someone who took her studies seriously.
She took my question about how a university education affected women like her and gave me a thoughtful response: “Education in the Middle East is a way to get a job, not to change the way you think. For women from families that can afford it, the norm is now education. A university degree no longer takes away your chances of getting married. Most of the women from my graduating class in 2009 are in fact married.”
But there was a price she paid for her education. University had changed her. Even worse for family tranquility, it had affected the way she thought.
“Believe me, my parents didn’t send me to Georgetown to widen my horizons or liberate my mind. But it often does change the way students think.” She paused and gave me a half smile. “After Georgetown, I have become more curious and less certain.”
She had become sadder, perhaps more realistic, about her hopes for the region and others’ grand schemes to improve life there.
And yet when she stopped to think about her classmates, she said that even before the Arab Spring, “Everyone has gotten good at playing the victim.”
Although Amira had passed on the student trip to Israel (“What was the point of it?”), she had signed on to the following year’s visit to Rwanda. It had changed her. Under the rubric “Zones of Conflict, Zones of Peace,” the Office of Student Affairs had organized a series of overseas trips each year. In spring 2009, they had visited the sites of the 1994 genocide of Tutsis by Hutus. They went to memorials for victims and talked to people who had lived through the mass murders of some six hundred thousand people. The most meaningful experience for Amira was sitting in on the operations of grassroots courts, called Gaccaca, where people who had killed their neighbors with machetes were confronted by the families of the victims. Amira was especially struck by children who, though they had no memories of the horror, were made to attend the trials. She recalls how impassively they watched.
Not only had the trials emphasized forgiveness, they also deemphasized the country’s tribal divisions. Indeed, the terms “Hutu” and “Tutsi” were never used. What struck Amira was how the memories of the violence were channeled into the courts and schools, and so the searing topic of genocide was in the main kept out of family discussions and social engagements. She compared this with her own experiences among Palestinian refugees and how their memories of war were never institutionalized but were left to the families with all the harsh, personal baggage that parents added to them.
She had not lost her cold-eyed view of the Arab world. She mentioned a story her father told her in explaining the spate of violence afflicting the region, following the Arab Spring. “When you lock people in a dark room and deprive them of a lot of things, including freedom, they may appear calm and adjusted. Then someone comes along and suddenly opens the door. No one files out in an orderly, single line. Instead, they rush out to the light, trampling each other on the way. In their desperation to fit through the narrow opening, they harm themselves and each other. It’s a shame but understandable.”
Rogaia was having none of it. Professor RogaiaAbusharaf, a Sudanese-born anthropologist teaching at our school, clad in black slacks and colorful wedged shoes, brought up a point that often gets raised among women in Qatar when they gather to “talk gender.” What’s wrong with the men?
The women of Doha—those from elsewhere as well as Qataris—hardly struck one as a weak, downcast social group. Rogaia endorsed the consensus view of her colleagues that our women students were better at their studies than the men. “Our Qatari women students are driven. They take pride in their work. And they have a strong sense of urgency toward their studies. No wonder. They worry about depending on men.”
She quoted a friend who said, “Men are cheap.” It is the women who are populating the government agencies. It was the best of our graduates, often women, who were allowing the Islamic world to compete in a global economy. And their families were behind this change, celebrating their success quite as much as that of their men. “Confidence is not an issue for our women students,” Rogaia added. “They have come to us with their family supports already in place. There are few clear-cut boundaries restraining them in their lives.”
Rogaia’s point is that Westerners’ preconceived notions of traditional societies have blinded many to the diversity and complexity of male-female relations. Women traditionally played a strong, if not dominant, role in villages while the men were off partying and hanging out with their buddies. This left the women central to financial, child-rearing, and housekeeping decisions made in the family. The myth of a harem and men with multiple wives is just that, she says: a myth. Qatari men seldom took more than one wife, even in the old days.
The truth in many Arab families is that “the women call the shots.” Rogaia recounted the story of an Arab professor in the social sciences—she wouldn’t tell me his name—whom she was recruiting to work on a project during the summer break. He apparently wanted to join the research but said he couldn’t. He said his wife wouldn’t allow him to travel during the summer. She wanted him at home. He stayed put.
In another story reinforcing the same theme, Rogaia spoke of an Egyptian housepainter who complained to her that a Qatari man he worked for couldn’t make a decision on the color of paint to use for rooms in his house. The Qatari man said he couldn’t decide without his wife present. She was apparently in another of their homes. The painter asked his employer to invite her to the house to decide. No, he responded, I tried but she won’t come. The project was put on hold, indefinitely.
The painter’s conclusion, shared by Rogaia, was that behind the appearance of patriarchy and male dominance, Qatari couples operated “like everyone else.” Where wives are the stronger personality, they will be in charge.
Rogaia disputed the dichotomy between modern and traditional in discussing the roles of women. She concluded bluntly, “I don’t subscribe to the idea of tradition making women subservient or holding them back.”
Boys and Girls Together
Most of the young men and women in our school would be easily recognizable in a middle-tier American liberal arts college. Some were bright, some weren’t; some worked hard, some didn’t. They had the customary range of abilities and interests and identities. Many were mature and motivated. Others were just occupying space. And why not? Education for their children was one of many benefits Qataris and their families expected from the state. Students were fulfilling expectations that they reflect the family’s position among a status conscious people. Georgetown offered another expensive import: a prestigious university degree.
Girls seemed better prepared, more focused on getting good grades, sometimes just smarter. Figuring out why was not beyond faculty speculation. Many of the boys we were teaching, especially those from the Gulf, were already familiar with the material pleasures of life: Porsches, summers on the Riviera, fast catamarans, drivers, servants. They came from closely knit, wealthy families in which they had inherited an elevated position. If they were Qatari, they were guaranteed a well-paying, not-very-demanding government job if they wanted, supplemented by financial grants from the regime that allowed them to live a very comfortable life. Bottom line: Gulf men did not have to do well in school to do well in life. Unsurprisingly, teachers who voiced an opinion thought Qatari male students were less motivated than the women. The president of Qatar University, SheikhaMissad, might concur: “This country doesn’t have a woman problem,” she was often quoted as saying, “it has a man problem.”
None of which is to say that girls didn’t engage equally with the material benefits that came with affluence. A graduate of Georgetown’s first class, Katrina Quirolgico, thought the discrimination facing Qatari women depended on their social class. The higher your standing in the social strata, the less likely you were to face adversity because of gender. The less affluent confronted more social restrictions. As for upper-class Qatari women, observed Ms. Quirolgico, “They do what they want to do.”
But for those not quite as privileged, a university education promised an elevation at home and within their female-subordinated society. It might even provide a path to a lifestyle that could take them out of traditional home-and-hearth roles. Wealthy, educated women did not have to give up their families to have a profession. Education for women was prized in traditional societies as long as the consequences of that education didn’t undermine the family, the male-dominated hierarchy, and the faith.
Those women who made it to Georgetown had already proven themselves outstanding students. One Egyptian colleague described her female students as “strong, confident, and assertive.” If they were intimidated by men or a male-dominated culture, I never noticed it in the classroom. Doing their best in college increased their options, including grad school and delaying marriage. In short, Georgetown opened the possibility of following the Western female models portrayed in the global media.
Mixing with men in academia was a daring step for many of them. After an unsteady first year, most of the women adapted fairly easily. But that doesn’t mean the broader cultures did the same. It was not uncommon to hear that Georgetown women were considered “sluts” for mixing with men by their peers at gender-separated, less-prestigious Qatar University across town. One graduate of our “University of Kafirs” told of a prospective husband closely questioning her over the phone about having gone to college with men and then never calling again.
Social mixing between unmarried women and men was still haram in most Gulf families. When it did occur, the results could in some cases be dire. A colleague told the harrowing story of a female student who had a boyfriend at school. As did others, they would sometimes meet and hold hands in inconspicuous corners of the school building. My colleague thought it rather sweet and innocent. Unfortunately, the female student sent an email intended for her boyfriend to her father by accident. The father, who hadn’t known of the boyfriend, confronted her at home, stripped the girl to the waist, and lashed her with a belt. The girl knew enough to take photos of her injuries at the school clinic and to give an account there of what had happened.
Her mother supported her daughter and they both moved out of the compound where they lived; from there, they went into hiding. The father, with the girl’s brother, came looking for them. My colleague was sure they meant to punish the girl, likely with another beating, perhaps worse. At this point, the police intervened to protect the women. It was now plain, however, that it was too dangerous for the girl and her mother to stay in Qatar. The women had stepped outside of customary boundaries and the males in the family were unforgiving. The women fled to another country in the Gulf where the girl continued her education.
A clash of cultures, which could have had a tragic outcome, seemed to resolve well enough for the girl involved, in part because of her own ability to use the resources that our school made available to her.
Where Do They Go Next?
An independent-minded Pakistani coed who graduated with honors from Georgetown and went to graduate school in California remarked, “My family has both given up on me and is proud of me.”
Outside the classroom, many women confront the binding traditions they have temporarily left. They have increased their value in the marriage market, yet they may intimidate the less-educated men available. The women, too, might have gotten a little bit pickier, less amenable to the pressures put on them by their parents, who have selected partners for them. One former Georgetown student insisted that her husband-to-be had to be a college graduate. Needing to live up to his new wife’s expectations, after their wedding he went back to college to get his degree. Georgetown’s former dean GerdNonneman called this a “reinvention of traditional elements” by women graduates. While these women still might be socially constrained, many were insisting on rights in their marriage contract that included continuing their education and having a separate house to live in.
Marriages arranged by parents still occur but in the cases I heard about, those pairing off had a say—often a veto—over any parental choice. As one said, we are not forced into marriage but we are pressured. With gender separation in force, it became somewhat difficult for prospective partners in Qatar to make an independent selection. Often the mothers were key in making the choice for their offspring. My wife, Ann, saw this at a Qatar wedding she was invited to. There were two celebrations held miles apart: one for men, one for women.
At the female gathering, an interesting fashion show occurred. Young women, dressed in very revealing clothes, paraded on a stage in front of an audience consisting mainly of older women, most of whom were described to Ann as being the mothers of eligible sons. This was apparently an opportunity for the mothers to “inspect the goods.” The ones passing this initial physical review would presumably merit a recommendation for their sons and a pass to the next level of selection.
Careers for women in Doha were possible, indeed sometimes easier than in other parts of the world. Becoming a mother in Doha was not a career killer as it could be in the United States. With plenty of servants and extended families, day care was not an issue. But the quality of jobs could be a challenge. Two Georgetown graduates spoke about taking their guaranteed jobs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry had a poor reputation among students as an uncreative place to work and these grads’ story illustrated why.
Apparently, the women were assigned to the fourth floor of the Ministry, where female employees gathered mostly to gossip and do their nails. When they were invited to hear visiting speakers, they were seated in the back and given pro forma questions to ask. They complained that in their time at the Ministry they were not assigned anything significant to do. They both quit after six months. There was a debate in the corridors of our school about whether female graduates of Western universities could ever fulfill their professional ambitions if they remained in Doha. Many recent grads stayed in Doha, if only because they were required to remain for a couple years if they wanted their financial aid from Qatar to be forgiven. Most found jobs in multinational corporations, nonprofits, or government agencies, courtesy of a still-expanding, prosperous economy. SheikhaMozah was a model for many Qatari women seeking positions in Qatar society. Female students often pointed with pride to the three Qatari women who had become ambassadors. Some added knowingly that none of the three was married.
On the other side of the debate was a realpolitik appraisal that we were educating women for a world that didn’t quite exist in the Arab Gulf. Georgetown’s first and, later, interim dean, Jim Reardon-Anderson, put it this way: “Success of women lies with those who take our education into the global marketplace. Those who don’t are stuck.” In reality, the women grads of Georgetown in Doha were not doing what women who gained a degree from the main campus had available to them. The non-Qatari women educated here have taken wing, the dean added. For the others, they might have to wait for the next generation.
And of course, there was the other side. An Arab friend criticized America for letting its women wander the streets at all hours of the night, vulnerable and unprotected. He pointed to crimes against women and how many were victimized by predators or trapped raising children on their own without the support of a husband or strong family. But women in America have collectively decided they don’t want men’s protection; they want tasks and careers equal to those of men. Pressuring or steering women toward subordinate roles in the family or workplace was no longer acceptable for increasing numbers of them. Justifying this practice because of their “weaker” feminine inclinations or inherited customs was equally unacceptable. If the women themselves rejected these identities, men were unlikely to be able to impose them for long.
Creating choices for individual women was what many Georgetown administrators, faculty, and families recognized and supported. One Georgetown graduate and feminist leader, MelanneVerveer, put the point well: “An educated girl was the single most important development story.”
Many in the Muslim world and elsewhere do not allow women to make their own choices or honor them when made. This will not likely halt the increasing number of women who want to travel their own paths and live with the consequences. Arguing that there were no differences between how women were treated in “traditional” and “modern” societies was not consistent with the experiences of these students. This doesn’t mean there wasn’t considerable variation in both types of society.
My last meeting with Amira was in a Washington coffee house—one of those modern, mostly glass affairs on a downtown corner but nearly empty on the late Friday afternoon when we sat down to talk. It had just rained, a sudden summer downpour. I was wet and late. She had arrived on time, which was not like her. Amira seemed unusually upbeat. She proudly declared that she had given up cigarettes. She was working for an Englishnonprofit that campaigned to expand press freedoms and online access throughout the world. I turned the conversation to her life. She said she had a serious boyfriend.
“He’s a Catholic, an American, working as an international consultant.”
“What do your parents think?”
“Actually, he was traveling through Doha and he stopped by to meet the family. He stayed for dinner and it went well.” She said this with a bit of can-you-believe-this in her voice.
“My mother was surprisingly accepting. My father didn’t seem concerned; he worries more about my safety living in the West. He doesn’t understand my living so far away from the family with no relatives to depend on. He doesn’t quite get the concept of roommates.”
“I just turned twenty-seven. That’s quite old in our family for an unmarried woman. They just want to see me get married. And they don’t seem to care to whom.”
We said good-bye on the corner outside the café. In keeping with my Gulf training, I waited for her to reach out her hand to shake mine, knowing that in Qatar only a few Arab women were willing to indulge this seemingly daring courtesy.
Instead, she grinned and gave me a hug. Yet another step away from Doha.
Walking away, I wondered about her parents and their acceptance of her boyfriend. I thought of my mom when, in my late thirties, I brought home a divorced woman, not Jewish of course, with her six-year-old boy. I told Mom we wanted to get married. She never objected to Ann. Indeed, she welcomed Daniel as if he were already a grandson and seemed quite happy. I was pretty impressed with this late-in-life flexibility. Afterward, other family members mentioned, offhandedly, that despite having witnessed a series of my girlfriends, Mom worried that I was gay. She may have been joking, which didn’t mean she—a woman of stern traditions—wasn’t worried.
Who knows what fears, spoken and unspoken, caused Amira’s parents to accept her changes and choices. Perhaps the prospects she presented them were a vast improvement on the disasters they were witnessing in their own part of the world, not to mention other fears of what they could imagine harming their precious daughter. Maybe her parents were not that different from mine. One can almost hear them all reciting the oft-spoken oath of parents—from many different lands and faiths, of times ancient and current, who—when presented with an offer they can’t refuse from children they can’t control—bravely if halfheartedly respond:
“As long as you’re happy, dear.”
WEEGS to seek empowerment of women at the workplace
November 25, 2017 Gulf News
Her Highness ShaikhaJawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), has called on governments, business communities and civil societies across the world to adopt more effective policies for the economic empowerment of women and an enhancement of their role in sustainable development.
ShaikhaJawaher Al Qasimi made the call as the UAE is set to host the first edition of the Women Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS), which is being held by NAMA in partnership with the UN Women on December 4-5 at Expo Centre Sharjah. The two-day summit has been convened to further the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015.
ShaikhaJawaher highlighted the negative feedback loop of gender inequality in the workplace, saying that the world loses billions of dollars and genuine opportunities to enhance direct and indirect investments daily because of the imbalance, a situation that further weakens women’s ability to participate in economic development.
“It is time for investment in the precious human resource that is women to take a significant leap forward. Women are essential partners in communities’ economic infrastructure. No country can achieve its peak intellectual and economic output without providing a legislative structure that lays the groundwork for a global economic system based on the principle of gender mainstreaming and equity,” said ShaikhaJawaher.
“We are all required to take up our moral, political and humanitarian responsibilities towards millions of girls, women and children who have been living under the poverty line for decades. We — countries, governments, companies and individuals — all share a collective responsibility for denying millions of women around the world the ability to work, produce, create and innovate, consequently preventing them achieving economic independence and restricting their role in growing their societies.”
The Shaikha called on business sectors in the region and the world to adopt action strategies and programmes for the implementation of the principle of gender equality and the empowerment of women in the workplace and job market.
“We call on the private sector to do more to engage women in the workplace in order to revitalise the world economic cycle. Tapping into their potential can add trillions of dollars to the global GDP over the next few years, according to estimates by the World Economic Forum. Studies by UN Women show that $28 trillion could be added to the global GDP by 2025 if women are given equal opportunities and access to job markets and entrepreneurship,” she said.
ShaikhaJawaher said the first edition of the WEE Global Summit would provide an international platform for the forging of partnerships to achieve equal opportunities and gender balance by motivating the private sector to submit commitments to empower women in the workplace and in the production cycle away from honorary positions and formal appointments.
“The commitment of the public and private sectors should not stop at appointing women in positions that allow them to achieve creativity and excellence, they should also support women entrepreneurs who have taken bold steps and set up their own businesses by awarding them bids, contracts and procurements that ensure their enterprises can prosper and grow,” added ShaikhaJawaher.
ShaikhaJawaher cited the UAE’s leading experience in women’s empowerment, highlighting that since its establishment it has implemented a strategy for equality, thanks to its wise leadership, which has given women their full rights to education and work. Her Highness pointed out that today Emirati women are entrepreneurs, ministers, ambassadors, pilots and doctors and drew attention to the UAE being ranked first in the GCC and second in the Arab world in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap World Report. Her Highness also highlighted that the UAE ranked second globally in the index of wage equality for the same job.
ShaikhaJawaher praised the UAE’s announcement of the allocation of $5 million annually for UN Women for three years, as of 2018 — an initiative that she said illustrates the UAE’s firm commitment to supporting efforts for women’s empowerment globally.
The first edition of WEEGS is being held under the patronage of the His Highness Shaikh Dr Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and ShaikhaJawaher, with the aim of achieving the United Nation 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by the organisation’s General Assembly in September 2015.
The first ever WEEGS summit represents a significant collaboration between NAMA and UN Women who are joining hands to support and empower women economically in line with NAMA’s support to the global programme ‘Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs,’ which is being implemented locally with the aim of ensuring gender equality in the field of entrepreneurship in Sharjah and the UAE.
To register, visit: http://weesummit.com/register.
UAE- SheikhaJawaher calls for more empowerment of women in the workplace
SHARJAH, 25th November, 2017 (WAM) -- H.H. SheikhaJawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, NAMA, and wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, has called on governments, business communities and civil societies across the world to adopt more effective policies for the economic empowerment of women and an enhancement of their role in sustainable development.
SheikhaJawaher Al Qasimi made the call as the UAE is set to host the first edition of the Women Economic Empowerment Global Summit, WEEGS, which is being held by NAMA in partnership with the UN Women on 4th and 5th December at Expo Centre Sharjah. The two-day summit has been convened to further the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015.
SheikhaJawaher highlighted the negative feedback loop of gender inequality in the workplace, saying that the world loses billions of US dollars daily and genuine opportunities to enhance direct and indirect investments because of the imbalance, a situation that further weakens women's ability to participate in economic development.
"It is time for investment in the precious human resource that is women to take a significant leap forward. Women are essential partners in communities' economic infrastructure. No country can achieve its peak intellectual and economic output without providing a legislative structure that lays the groundwork for a global economic system based on the principle of gender mainstreaming and equity," said SheikhaJawaher.
"We are all required to take up our moral, political and humanitarian responsibilities towards millions of girls, women and children who have been living under the poverty line for decades. We all - countries, governments, companies and individuals - share a collective responsibility for denying millions of women around the world the ability to work, produce, create and innovate, consequently preventing them achieving economic independence and restricting their role in growing their societies," she continued.
SheikhaJawaher called on business sectors in the region and the world to adopt action strategies and programmes for the implementation of the principle of gender equality and the empowerment of women in the workplace and job market.
"We call on the private sector to do more to engage women in the workplace to revitalise the world economic cycle. Tapping into their potential can add trillions of dollars to the global GDP over the next few years, according to estimates by the World Economic Forum. Studies by UN Women show that US$28 trillion could be added to the global GDP by 2025 if women are given equal opportunities and access to job markets and entrepreneurship," said SheikhaJawaher Al Qasimi.
She went on to explain that the first edition of the WEEGS would provide an international platform for the forging of partnerships to achieve equal opportunities and gender balance by motivating the private sector to submit commitments to empower women in the workplace and the production cycle away.
"The commitment of the public and private sectors should not stop at appointing women in positions that allow them to achieve creativity and excellence, they should also support female entrepreneurs who have taken bold steps and set up their businesses by awarding them bids, contracts and procurements that ensure their enterprises can prosper and grow," she continued.
Citing the UAE's leading experience in women's empowerment, SheikhaJawaher explained that since its establishment the UAE has implemented a strategy for equality, thanks to its wise leadership, which has provided women with their full rights to education and work. She noted that today Emirati women are entrepreneurs, ministers, ambassadors, pilots and doctors and drew attention to the UAE being ranked first in the GCC and second in the Arab world in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap World Report. Her Highness also highlighted that the UAE ranked second globally in the index of wage equality for the same job.
She praised the UAE's announcement of the allocation of $5 million annually for UN Women for three years, as of 2018 - an initiative that she said illustrates the UAE's firm commitment to supporting efforts for women's empowerment globally.
Nelly Can't Have a Female Crowd in Saudi Arabia
Published November 26th, 2017
The American rapper Nelly will be holding a concert along sideRaï singer Cheb Khaled next month in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The event is to take place on December 14th and is been considered by many as a "big deal", given that music concerts are mostly not allowed in the country.
But with an allocated budget of two point seven billion dollars, thirty two years old Prince Mohammed bin Salman's aims to bring life again to such activities and reform the country's entertainment sector.
Since the announcement of the event on social media, it has been received positively. Yet, the concert could also draw attention to the downside of the kingdom's entertainment sector. Tickets are relatively high in price - one hundred and twenty dollars each - and can only be acquired my males.
The controversy did not stop here, as some female followers of the artist condemned the male only concert policy, calling it "stupid". Other commentators were concerned about the "Hot in Here" rapper's accusations of sexual assault and possession of marijuana.
It is not the first time that a major American act performs in Saudi Arabia. A few months ago, Troby Keith performed alongside the local superstar RabehSaqer in Riyadh. The male only policy was no different then, and took place during the week of Donald Trump's visit to the Saudi Kingdom.
The country singer was not allowed to sing about alcohol, sex or drugs, which may have been a tough task for him with a repertoire that revolves around those themes. He ended up with a set-list of barely known songs.
The "Dilemma" singer could be facing an actual dilemma choosing songs for his concert in the Arab country, where women are mostly fully covered, alcohol is not allowed and smuggling drugs is a capital offence, since many of his major hits do focus on sex, alcohol or drugs as their main theme. Take for example the lyrics of "Hot in Here":
"It's gettin hot in herre (so hot), so take off all your clothes
I am - gettin so hot, I wanna take my clothes off"
This could be the first time that the rapper performs in a "limiting" Middle East venue other than one charity concert her performed in two years ago in Erbil, Iraq, and neither him nor his team commented on his planned Saudi Arabia concert.
‘Because I’m a man,’ Liverpool star Salah backs Egypt women’s rights
AFP | Published — Thursday 26 November 2020
CAIRO: Liverpool forward Mohammed Salah has thrown his support behind a UN-sponsored campaign to end violence against women in his homeland Egypt where sexual harassment is rampant.
Hundreds of thousands of people viewed an animated video teaching men to respect women and their rights after national team icon Salah shared it online.
“Because I’m a man who understands that a man and a woman have the same rights and responsibilities, I decided to support the ‘Because I’m a man’ campaign,” Salah wrote in posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Wednesday.
Salah, feted as a hero at home after his late penalty in October sent Egypt to the World Cup for the first time since 1990, is currently the leading scorer in the English Premier League this season.
He is also high up in the running for African footballer of the year awards.
The video, produced as part of a campaign by UN Women Egypt and Egypt’s state-run National Council for Women, showed a man rejecting widespread stereotypes over the role of women in the country’s conservative society.
“Because I’m a chivalrous man, I stood up to violence against women,” a voice says.
The treatment of women is a major problem in Egypt where a UN study in 2013 said that 99.3 percent of them had experienced at least one form of harassment and 82.6 percent did not feel safe in the streets.
Getting backing by popular figures like Salah is a key way for campaigns to spread their message and UN Women Egypt sent him “special thanks” online for being “one of the first supporters.”
Egypt’s qualification for the World Cup sparked jubilation across the nation and days of press coverage, with Salah’s hometown Basyoun renaming a school in his honor.
4 Jordanian women to be deported for practicing sorcery
16 hours ago
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 25: Four Jordanian women, among them two sisters, were referred to the authorities in preparation for deportation for practicing sorcery, reports Al-Rai daily. The four women were caught in Fahaheel, Sabahiya, Aqila and Adan hospitals respectively, and one of them was in possession of sorcery tools. They were in possession of KD 1,750 in total.
‘Don’t beat students’: A Kuwaiti citizen lodged a complaint with officers at Sabah Al-Ahmad Police Station against an Egyptian teacher of English language for beating his nine-year old son, says Al- Seyassah. Father of the grade-three student, who reportedly sustained bruises all over the body due to beating, said the teacher lashed the child with a cane. He provided medical report to support his claim after filing a case with principal of the school. Apparently, a circular has been issued by the Ministry of Education warning teachers against corporal punishment, especially lashing students with cane.
Guard hurt in fight: Three students of a secondary school in Jahra area engaged in a public brawl in front of their school, and a guard who tried to resolve the issue sustained injury, says Al-Seyassah. Acting on information, a team of rescue men went to the scene and dealt with the incident. Initial investigation revealed the quarrel started in the classroom before it developed into exchange of blows outside the school. Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti citizen accompanied his 16- year old son to the area police station and filed a complaint against three individuals who assaulted the son on a pitch while he was playing football in Sulaibiya area. A case was registered.
2 selling liquor: Security operatives from JleebShuyoukh apprehended two Asians for peddling in liquor and recovered KD 80 cash believed to be proceeds from the illegitimate trade in their possession, alongside bottles of local alcohol ready for sale. They were referred to public prosecution, says Al-Seyassah.