Women Research and Studies Center, College of Social Sciences, Kuwait University, General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development , UNDP and UN Women Unite to Launch First of its Kind Global Initiative in GCC: Women’s Empowerment Principles

EQUATE, Al Hamra Real Estate Co., Alghanim, Burgan Bank and Gulf Insurance Company join the WEP signatories in Kuwait, championing Women Economic Empowerment


Kuwait City, 2 October 2018 - Under the auspices of Her Excellency Mrs. Hind Sabeeh Barak Al-Sabeeh, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour and Minister of State for Economic Affairs, the Women's Research and Studies Center, College of Social Sciences at Kuwait University convened the launch of Women’s Empowerment Principles in Kuwait on 1 October 2018, at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry This initiative was designed to mobilize the Kuwaiti private sector to promote, support and accelerate gender equality between men and women and women’s economic empowerment, in alignment with the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The high-level event was launched in partnership with the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). The event was held under the framework of Sustainable Development Goal 5: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

In her keynote speech, H.E. Mrs. Mrs. Hind Sabeeh Barak Al-Sabeeh, re-iterated her commitment to women’s economic empowerment as a strategic government goal to ensure sustainable growth by unleashing the potential of women, who represent 50% of the local talent. ‘To advance our economic growth and continue to excel in an increasingly more competitive world, it is paramount that we open up opportunities for women, and men, to address society’s most pressing challenges and enable solutions that would take our country forward. More women mean smarter business and stronger economies, she concluded.

Representative of the President of Kuwait University, Dr. Jasem Ramadan Al Kandari delivered the opening speech to senior government officials, senior executives from Kuwait’s private sector companies, international organizations, diplomatic corps and media representatives, emphasizing the importance of Kuwait’s private sector development and advancing of the country’s human capital in delivering the 2035 Vision, with higher and better participation of women in the workforce. He further stressed on the unwavering support and encouragement of Kuwait University for its belief that the empowerment of women in society is one of the core indicators on which progress and advancement of nations are measured as well as in the ranking of countries in various human development indexes."

Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, Dr. Khaled Mahdi, who has been instrumental in this initiative stated: ‘There is certainly scope to boost further women’s economic empowerment in the private and public sector. We encourage all stakeholders to join hands to increase women’s participation in all sectors of the economy, in line with the National Development Plan. Studies show that women’s participation at senior levels, such as corporate boardrooms, increases productivity and overall performance. There is no doubt that women are an integral part of the economic progress of Kuwait, including at managerial levels.’

Dr. Lubna Al-Kazi, Head of Women’s Research, and Studies Center said, “This is the third event on Women’s economic empowerment within the SDG5. Women’s Research and Studies Center rang the bell of Boursa Kuwait on March 8 this year so Kuwait was the first GCC country to do so. We have trained ten government agencies on gender-responsive budgeting. This particular initiative is aimed at the private sector which includes the participation of several major companies interested in achieving the new Kuwait vision 2035 by increasing the number of women in leadership positions.”

Dr. Tarek El Sheikh, UN Resident Coordinator, and UNDP Resident Representative in Kuwait congratulated the participating stakeholders for their solid commitment to substantiate one of the key pillars of the National Development Plan set forth by the government under the effective leadership of the President of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, Sheikh Naser Sabah Al-Ahmed, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and under the direction of the Minister of State for Economic Development. Dr. El-Sheikh reiterated that the implementation of the strategy, which is fully supported and sponsored by the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, will take the country one step closer to achieving SDG5.

Speaking further on the WEPs, Dr. El Sheikh added: The United Nations is very pleased to be a party to this multi-stakeholder platform and to see this high level of committment to the economic empowerment of women that would help accelerate Kuwait’s economic, political and social progress. Increasing women’s participation in businesses will lead to better development outcomes for families and communities”.

Ms. Nicolla Hewitt, UN Women Senior Advisor noted, “Leading private sector companies in the State of Kuwait are joining the global level initiative, and signalling Kuwait’s commitment towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for the benefit of women, men and the community as a whole, and using the WEPs as a powerful tool to achieve this”.

Some of Kuwait’s leading companies -, EQUATE, Al Hamra Real Estate Co., Alghanim, Burgan Bank and Gulf Insurance Company formally endorsed the Women’s Empowerment Principles by signing the CEOs’ Statement of Support during the event, joining Zain who was the the first Kuwaiti company to do so. Other prominent companies NBK, Gulf Bank, Agility Logistics, KIPCO and PACE will also participate in specialised training, between 2 and 5 October and convened by Kuwait University.