The Arab-European Businesswomen Forum, aimed at facilitating and encouraging Arab and European businesswomen to establish connections and business relations, was held for the first time in Malta. The Arab European Businesswomen Forum – Malta comprised around 90 participants with participating countries, including Palestine, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, Algeria, Greece, Lithuania, Sweden, Ukraine, Mauritania and Turkey.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela addressed the Forum, and said how the partnerships that this Forum aims to catalyse will put into context the different realities of different jurisdictions and the different ways of doing business.
The Minister highlighted Malta’s geographic position as being favourable in bringing together continental Europe and the Maghreb, as well as its staunch belief in gender equality and women empowerment across all sectors, especially through the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies.
“We seek a future in which women exert greater power and influence. To achieve this, we must challenge traditional stereotypical representations,” remarked Minister Abela. He added that, “it is only by effectively ensuring the rights of women and girls that we can sustain our shared environment, now and for generations to come”.
Minister Abela said that this business forum falls in line with Malta’s work towards reaching the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in gender equality. Data published in the 2019 SDG Index and Dashboards Report places Malta in the 28th place, out of 162 countries. This is a recognition of Malta’s collective actions in the drive to mainstream sustainability. “The government supports the role of business, not only at a national level, but also in the international sphere, in fostering the advancement of gender equality and achieving international development goals,” said Minister Abela.
He noted how, in popular culture, women are less likely to be depicted as professionals, and female characters who have jobs are six times more likely to be secretaries than men are. Fewer than three per cent of the words in history textbooks are specifically about women, and only five per cent of all images of historical figures in textbooks are women who are not considered white.
Minister Abela encouraged leaders and CEOs to share their vision on the current state and future cooperation between the Arab region and Europe regarding innovation and digitalisation. In this area, there is abundant space for women’s participation.
“Women’s meaningful participation in business decision-making is good for business. And business, for its part, is conducive to creating and sustaining economic development, trust, stability, and peace,” concluded the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Abela.
The Forum was also addressed by the Director and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Palestine Dr Amal Jadou.