Private sector companies in Kuwait launch the Women’s Economic Empowerment Platform (WEEP)


Private sector companies in Kuwait
Representatives of UNDP Kuwait, EQUATE, Gulf Bank, Limak, National Bank of Kuwait, Zain Kuwait, and UN Women Regional office for the Arab States. Photo: LimakInsaat Kuwait SPC.

Leading members of the Kuwait private sector launched the Women’s Economic Empowerment Platform Kuwait (WEEP Kuwait) on 6 June, with the endorsement and support of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GSSCPD). Senior representatives of Equate Petrochemical, Gulf Bank, LimakInsaat Kuwait SPC, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), and Zain Kuwait announced their commitment to collaborate and exchange knowledge and expertise to advance the implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) in Kuwait.

The WEPs comprise a set of seven principles offering practical guidance to businesses to empower women in the workplace, marketplace, and the community. The WEEP Kuwait has set out its vision to foster a private sector that is gender-inclusive, and which will contribute to implementation of Agenda 2030 and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and Kuwait’s national development priorities on growth and social protection. The launch event was moderated by Besma Al-Qassar, an entrepreneur and founder of the Women Mentor Forum.

The Kuwait University Women’s Research and Studies Centre, UN Women, and UNDP Kuwait will provide technical expertise to support the WEEP Kuwait’s objectives. The GSSCPD and Kuwait University have promoted the private sector’s implementation of the WEPs in collaboration with UN Women and UNDP since 2018.

The founding members of the WEEP Kuwait are now taking this effort forward through the establishment of the Platform that will work together towards advancing women’s leadership and participation in Kuwait’s private sector by sharing good practices, collaborating on the WEPs implementation, and supporting women-owned and led businesses and start-ups.

Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary-General of the GSSCPD, congratulated the founding members of the WEEP Kuwait on this initiative and highlighted the important contribution of women’s leadership in decision-making roles for both the private sector and the nation: “having women on decision-making boards will add great value to the country and add great value to the progress and the growth of the economy”. Dr. Lubna Al-Kazi of Kuwait University commended the participating companies on their motivation to advance women’s leadership in the private sector and noted that “we’re all working towards something that is part and parcel of the Kuwait Development Plan”.

Ms. Ebru Özdemir, Limak Holding Chairperson, said “young Kuwaiti engineers are involved in our projects and we invest in their training so that they can directly contribute to the future of their country. We have sought to uplift young Kuwaiti women through our projects here and our program, Engineer Girls of Kuwait… I am grateful to our Strategic Partners for their trust in this Platform, and support to take our efforts beyond the classroom and put them into the workforce. As a final word, I would like to welcome any company operating in Kuwait in joining us on this Platform to support Kuwait’s women in the private sector”

In a message shared during the event, Susanne Mikhail Eldhagen, UN Women Regional Director for the Arab States, congratulated the founding members of the Platform on their innovation and leadership in creating the WEEP Kuwait. Ms. Mikhail Eldhagen commended the membership on providing “a truly inspirational example of how to advance Kuwait’s development priorities and Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.

The WEEP Kuwait platform represents an opportunity for the private sector in Kuwait to foster gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community to directly contribute to economic diversification, growth, and sustainability in the Gulf, the Arab States region, and beyond.

A short video of the launch event can be watched here.