Women Economic Empowerment Platform in Kuwait

August 29, 2022


The General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GSSCPD) through its Women and Business Committee organized a seminar on Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) to explain the seven principles, share success stories and inspiring stories by current signatories and encourage new signatories. It was organized in collaboration with The American Chamber of Commerce in Kuwait (AmCham Kuwait) and WEP's current signatories and in support of UNDP and UN-Women.

The Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, Dr. Khalid Mahdi, stressed that the seven pillars of the development plan come in line with the vision of (New Kuwait 2035) regarding the support and empowerment of women, pointing to the keenness of the Government of the State of Kuwait and its support to empower women through a target set in the development plan to achieve 35% of women decision-makers in line with the fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Mahdi added that the State of Kuwait has enacted various legislations and laws in addition to acceding to some international conventions, stressing that it is a clear proof of the keenness of the political leadership on the role and importance of women in society. He pointed out that Kuwaiti women have proven their efficiency and achieved many achievements, which pushes the State of Kuwait to adopt more development initiatives that help advance the empowerment of women and develop their capabilities, explaining that these initiatives contribute to giving opportunities to Kuwaiti women to be more influential in the vision of (New Kuwait 2035). Dr. Mahdi added that the role of women was clear through their effective and distinctive participation during the Corona pandemic that hit the world, indicating that women participated in many fields and sectors during the pandemic such as the health, social, humanitarian and voluntary fields and proved their efficiency in all these fields. He praised the role of the private sector in the State of Kuwait and its interest in employing women, providing them with training and qualification opportunities and providing them with the opportunity to assume executive positions, which is the lowest important path that is being taken to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Mahdi referred to the Women's Empowerment Platform under the slogan of Kuwaiti Women Leaders for Change, which was announced through the Linked in Application, explaining that this platform is a reference that enables decision makers to choose competencies from Kuwaiti women to fill leadership positions. He also called on all Kuwaiti women with competence and practical experience in either the public or private sectors to follow this platform, and to update their full career history in their Linked in account so that the team can view it and activate this initiative.

Mr. Khaled Mohammed Shahwan, Acting Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), explained that Kuwait has taken several important steps towards the implementation of the comprehensive national plan. The General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development coordinated substantive technical consultations with national stakeholders and international organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women and emphasized that the fifth Sustainable Development Goal on the empowerment of women must be an integral and enabler  part for achieving all other SDGs. Together with local and government communities, the private sector and academia such as Kuwait University, the United Nations collaborates to promote the principles of women's empowerment geared towards the private sector and includes many companies. A national initiative with a global vision, its mission is to help accelerate the implementation of New Kuwait's Vision 2035 by increasing women's representation in leadership positions. Already, nearly 44 companies and their executives have so far signed the Women's Empowerment Principles, which are committed to empowering women at all levels,. Kuwait's private sector has shown leadership in achieving New Kuwait's Vision 2035 in line with the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Dr. Lubna Ahmed Al-Qadi, "Vice President" in the Women and Business Committee of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, expressed that this event is the fifth to encourage companies in the private sector to sign the principles of women's empowerment in their institutions, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Kuwait and some of its foreign member companies and also some major companies in Kuwait participated with us today, as some private universities attended this event, and the State of Kuwait began to apply the principles of women's empowerment since 2017. There are successful experiences in companies in multiple fields including oil, the banking sector, some private universities, Boursa Kuwait, Zain Telecommunications Company which was the first company to sign the Women's Empowerment Principles Agreement, and this initiative is in line with the New Kuwait Vision 2035 and the National Development Plan that seeks to expand the role private sector to achieve sustainable development, and we know that women nowadays play an active role in the private sector. In June 2022, with the support and support of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, prominent members of the Kuwaiti private sector have launched the "WEEP Kuwait" platform for women's economic empowerment in Kuwait with the aim of promoting a gender-inclusive private sector that will contribute to the implementation of the National Development Plan of the State of Kuwait. 

AmCham Kuwait became a signatory of the Women Empowerment Principles by the United Nations Global Compact back in 2021, and with this, they stooped in the right direction as an organization, as they continue to express their support in advancing gender equity by using the 7 principles of the WEPs as guiding points in benefit to the society. Through this event, AmCham Kuwait hoped that their member companies will become aware of the benefits of diversity and inclusion and will be aligned with their principles as a Chamber. This event serves as a mean to educate different industries on the importance of women empowerment in the workplace. By becoming signatories, entities will be able to access different tools provided by the UN agencies to be used towards bettering their practices when it comes to hiring, training, the work environment, and much more.

Gulf Bank firmly believes in empowering women and working to promote equality that supports women in the Bank which helps to achieve more success. In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which call for equal rights in the workplace and society, Gulf Bank was one of the first banks in Kuwait to become a major signatory to the Women's Empowerment Convention and following this commitment Gulf Bank is the first bank in Kuwait to implement gender equality in employment benefits. By taking this step, the Bank aims to eliminate all types of gender discrimination while promising full equality in terms of employment benefits which helps to lead Gulf Bank in the State of Kuwait.

Supporting women to reach their potential is always a priority for NBK, based on NBK's conviction of the importance of diversity and inclusion as critical to its future success, as we are proud that the number of women in leadership and supervisory positions in the bank will reach 30% of the total by the end of 2021 and we are proud that female employees have taken over 45% of the workforce, which is a remarkable achievement in the banking sector and the regional labor market. NBK is one of the first private sector organizations in the region to sign the United Nations Principles for the Empowerment of Women and takes a unique approach to ensuring equal opportunities, for all its employees without exception to motivate them to innovate, as well as the absence of a gender gap between the salaries of the Bank's employees. The Bank is also committed to establishing a culture of women's empowerment at the level of the entire group, which is exemplified by the arrival of the female component to the Board of Directors and in the external branches of the Bank, in addition to promoting gender equality as a key element in the management of talent development, and the Bank has taken many actions and measures to ensure the participation of women in leadership positions by providing appropriate guidance and opportunities for their career development.

Zain Group stated that it views areas of diversity and inclusion as a way of life, considering them part of the "values" of its brand, and in doing so seeks to include them in its corporate culture, and Zain Group believes that empowering women in their ability to progress economically, and having the responsibility and powers to make decisions, is a human right, so expanding opportunities for women is very important in business, as it is a critical factor in addressing the gender gap. Zain seeks to achieve this by building a gender-inclusive workforce through the "WE” initiative, which aims to provide best practices and procedures that enable the empowerment of women in the business environment, believing that promoting gender equality in education, employment and entrepreneurship, and breaking down inherited barriers, will certainly contribute to the creation of a positive environment and will help create a diverse and inclusive workforce.

EQUATE Group stressed that they are proud to be one of the first signatories to the UN Women Empowerment Principles which aligns with their ELEVATE strategy. This also reaffirms the Group’s commitment to growing women’s employment and advancing them to leadership positions as well as providing equal access to resources and opportunities for all employees. This is a component of their sustainability plan, which is in line with the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and New Kuwait 2035 Vision.