HRH Princess Sumaya Says Women are Essential to Prosperity
“The important role of women in the Euro-Mediterranean region cannot be overstated,” says Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan President of El Hassan Science City and The Royal Scientific Society, “particularly in these uncertain and challenging times.” In a speech delivered on her behalf in Hamburg, Germany, by Mrs Reem Barghouty Damen, Chairperson of the Jordan Forum for Business & Professional Women, the Princess added that women had much to offer in helping to build progressive communities and prosperous societies.
The meeting entitled Progressive Women for Peace and Prosperity, was organized today (April 12th) by the Euro Mediterranean Association for Cooperation and Development and was under the Patronage of HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan.
“The innovation, ingenuity and creative spirit of women have often been subdued and ignored on both sides of the Mediterranean,” said the Princess. “But I am glad to say that this is no longer the case in many areas of innovation, business, government and the professions. However, there is still much to do to ensure that women thrive and societies benefit from their contributions.”
The Princess added that women in business and public life face challenges in the Middle East, as they have done in the West: “Many women in the Middle East are challenged to find careers that can fit in with family life – a life that they do not wish to sacrifice, and nor should they have to. That is perhaps a vital area where we must ask for the help, cooperation and understanding of our male counterparts in government, business and the community. Sharing responsibility in family matters is crucial to building a truly equal society.”
Princess Sumaya added that from its early years, Islam had fully accepted women into business and finance and, indeed, actively encouraged female participation at a time when such activities would not have been permitted in the West:
“Historically, women in early Islamic culture had a leading role in shaping societies, and in governing them – The tradition of female equality in commerce runs deep in Arab history,” said the Princess.
The Hamburg conference aims to provide a platform for interdisciplinary discussions on the role of women in North Africa and the Middle East (EMA region). Discussions will focus on business, while recognizing that the empowerment of women in all areas of society is of importance for a prosperous future. EMA is co-hosting the event with the Federal Government of Germany and the Hamburg Government, as well as the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.