RIYADH: Bridging gender and generation gaps was vital to inclusive growth and sustainable development in the labor market, a Saudi symposium has been told.
Despite efforts to encourage women into work, more still needed to be done, a panelist at the Think 20 (T20) Inception Conference in Riyadh said on Monday.
Asma Siddiki, head of special projects at Prince Mohammed bin Salman College, said: “Women participate less in labor markets, and face glass walls and ceilings, but this can be addressed when there is an adequate opportunity for women to bridge the gap.”
Speaking during a session titled “Bridging gaps: Empowering women and preparing youth,” moderated by Imtenan Al-Mubarak, head of the strategy management office at King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), Siddiki pointed out that working to overcome gender and generational gaps was “key to achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development.”
She added that the time had come to break the gender glass and create equal opportunities for women and youth.
“Women participate less because we are not producing adequate opportunity for them. We need to create adequate facilities and services. There are some areas where female participation is poor, because we have not created adequate facilities for women to feel safe and participate actively.”
Siddiki also stressed the need for more training of women as teachers who in turn would help in the creation of female leaders of the future.
Mona Hammami, senior director at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, said that despite developments in social and economic diversity, opportunity gaps for women remained. “To bring women to the workplace, there is a need to break barriers or the glass walls that stop them from active participation.”
She added that preparing millennials, both male and female, for the labor market would pay dividends for the country but feared that urbanization and overpopulation in many cities was blocking opportunities.
Haifa Jamal Al-Lail, president of Effat University, said the G20 had formed a B20, C20, L20, U20, W20, and Y20, and suggested the setting up of an Education 20 (E20). “Education is more important to empower women and prepare youth for sustainable development,” she said.
The two-day T20 Inception Conference brought together experts from all over the world to discuss a range of essential issues covering climate, energy, migration, youth, innovation and technology, multilateralism, economic development, finance, food security, and access to water.
Initiated during the Mexican G20 presidency in 2012, the T20 engagement group has continued under successive host nations of the world leaders’ summit. Its first meeting was held with the participation of think tanks from 15 countries including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Singapore, Turkey and South Korea.