G20 engagement group meets in Riyadh to discuss key women’s issues

The group met in Riyadh on Monday. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 05 February 2020

G20 engagement group meets in Riyadh to discuss key women’s issues

  • The meeting took place at Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University

RIYADH: The G20’s Women 20 (W20) engagement group met in Riyadh on Monday for the first of this year's national dialogues on women’s issues.

The meeting, which was led by Saudi nonprofit Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women, took place at Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University, the largest women's university in the world. It focused on women’s priorities and economic empowerment, along with ways to promote policies relating to inclusion in the labor market and entrepreneurship.

Dr. Inas bint Suleiman Al-Issa, the director of the university, opened the session with a presentation titled “Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University: Enabling Empowerment,” in which she discussed some of the establishment’s most notable initiatives designed to aid the advancement of Saudi women. She highlighted the university’s role in supporting Saudi women through study and research, its work with the National Observatory for Women, and the launch of its Master of Women’s Studies, among other things.

Al-Issa said that the university places great importance on the future of women in the Kingdom, reflecting its belief that they have an important role to play in achieving the goals of Vision 2030, especially in key sectors such as information technology, entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer.

The rest of the meeting featured three sessions. The first focused on the current experience of Saudi women in the labor market and technical training, the second on financial inclusion and entrepreneurship, and the third on monitoring mechanisms and strategies for follow-ups.

Saudi Arabia will host this year’s G20 summit, the first to be held in the Middle East, in November. The W20 is one of eight engagement groups established by the G20 to discuss financial and socioeconomic challenges. The others focus on the private sector, youth, labor, thinkers and researchers, civil society, science, and urban issues. They develop policy recommendations that can be presented to G20 leaders for consideration. Led by representatives of nongovernmental organizations from the host country, who work with peers from other G20 nations, these groups meet each year ahead of the main summit.

The next W20 meeting will be held in Jeddah on Feb. 27.

World leaders call for courage as virus death toll nears 70,000

Updated 06 April 2020

World leaders call for courage as virus death toll nears 70,000

  • Be strong, Pope Francis says
  • US faces ‘Pearl Harbor moment’

JEDDAH: World leaders urged people on Sunday to show courage and strength in fighting the coronavirus pandemic as the global death toll approached 70,000 from more than 1.25 million cases of infection.

Pope Francis described the outbreak as a tragedy, Queen Elizabeth of the UK offered her personal thanks to frontline health workers, and Americans were warned that they faced the “hardest and the saddest week” of their lives.

Saudi Arabia reported five more deaths from the virus, bringing the total to 34. The number of confirmed cases rose by 206 to 2,385, the highest among Gulf Arab states.

The Foreign Ministry will register requests this week from Saudis abroad who want to return home, with priority given to the elderly, pregnant women and people in countries most affected by the pandemic. Those who return are subject to a 14-day quarantine, and about 11,000 hotel rooms have been set aside for them.

The Health Ministry warned that too many people were ignoring advice to stay at home. “Unfortunately, there is still more than 40 percent mobility in shopping and outdoor activities. This is a very alarming percentage,”ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said.

“We are all in this boat together, and those who risk their own lives by going out for no urgent need are risking everybody else’s lives too.”

The six Gulf states have reported 6,757 cases of infection and 54 deaths from the coronavirus. The UAE, where 1,505 people have been infected and 10 have died, will increase its stockpile of strategic goods and waive residency visa fines for the rest of the year, said the prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

In Rome, on Palm Sunday, a Christian religious festival, Pope Francis celebrated mass by live stream with St.Peter’s Square empty of the usual huge crowds.

“Today, in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of the many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts, Jesus says to each one of us: ‘Courage, open your heart to my love’,” he said.

Queen Elizabeth gave a rare special address to the British people, only the fourth in her 68-year reign. She praised frontline health workers and more than 750,000 people who volunteered to help the state-run National Health Service.

“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge, and those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,” she said.

In the US, as the death toll approached 10,000, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said: “This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives … our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment.”