The global conversation about the need for gender equality is one the world needs to continue having. But when it becomes caught up in a swirl of noise, publicity, and even controversy, there is a risk of the true point of this conversation being drowned out.
However, the recent International Women’s Day sent a positive global message that resonates beyond the issue at the core of its campaign: a balanced world is a better world. It is a message of a kind that, at Qatar Foundation (QF), we have been sending for almost 25 years, through our commitment to ensuring everyone – regardless of gender, culture, background, or any other consideration – has a platform from which they can be an active participant in influencing and driving social change.
This week, we have reinforced that commitment with our pledge that, from 2020 onward, at least half the speakers on panels at our conferences and events will be women.
To give you an idea of the scope of this pledge, we hosted around 40 major local and international events last year, attended by over 55,000 people. They include global conferences focused on addressing the greatest challenges that face not just Qatar, but the world. So our pledge is a significant, and regionally groundbreaking, statement of intent.
But it is also a statement of QF’s values; our recognition that everyone owns the great ideas and the valuable perspectives; and our belief in providing opportunities for them to be voiced and heard. And while committing to at least 50% female participation on all our panels undoubtedly supports the empowerment of women, it is also about much more than this.
It is about reaffirming, in a tangible and highly-visible way, the fact that bringing as many different perspectives as possible to the key issues affecting our world creates more rigorous dialogue; enables problems and challenges to be analyzed and debated from every angle; encourages active citizenship from all walks of life; and generates more innovative ideas and impactful solutions. Just as it deconstructs boundaries, equality also builds stronger, more inclusive, more unified, and more engaged societies.
At QF, we are proud of anyone – male or female – who doesn’t just want to see change happen, but wants to be part of making it happen. People like this are everywhere, and from everywhere. And what matters to us is ensuring they have a platform to achieve, to contribute, and to make their views and aspirations heard.
A person without a platform – to speak, learn, explore, and grow – is a person without a voice. And when global society does not provide these platforms, it impedes itself.
That’s why Qatar Foundation – through the pledge we’ve made this week, and in everything we do – is committed to providing opportunities for everyone to be a driver of positive change. Not just because it empowers women. But because it empowers action, innovation, and progress – and gives our world the best chance of benefiting from the power of human potential.
Chief Commmunications Officer