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Expo2020 Stars, trailblazers, world leaders and youth to lead #BreakTheBias talks at Expo 2020 Dubai

  • Inspiring speakers include HE Dr Anwar Gargash and UN Women’s Anita Bhatia

  • Photo exhibition by leading female photographers, select celebrities to participate

  • Day-to-night events unveiled with Assembly, Forum and Al Wasl Plaza ceremony

Reported By Aslam Jawaid

Expo 2020 Dubai is unveiling its rich programming for International Women’s Day (8 March) – three days of events, under the 2022 theme of #BreakTheBias, which envisage a gender-equal world where women can reach their full potential.

The World Expo will explore different perspectives to tackle the invisible barriers holding women back in politics, business and culture. The event will also celebrate those already breaking the bias, in line with the goal of achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.

An impressive line-up of speakers at the Break the Bias Assembly in the morning and an afternoon Forum, curated by the Women’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 in collaboration with Cartier, will offer compelling discussions on how to overcome bias, stereotypes and discrimination. The festivities will conclude at Al Wasl Plaza with a captivating ceremony, organised by Cartier, under the majestic Al Wasl dome.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The world continues to face extraordinary challenges, and it is clear that these issues cannot be solved without half the global population having a seat at the table. We must tackle stereotypes, cultural and societal norms that create bias against women and hinder their ability to contribute – a change that cannot be achieved by one policy or actor alone.

“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the women that have broken the mould across sectors and the men that have championed them. We welcome the world to Expo 2020 Dubai to learn how each of us can create an enabling environment for women, one that will ultimately secure a brighter future for all humanity.”

Cyrille Vigneron, President and CEO, Cartier International: “Empowering women and achieving gender equality is a shared responsibility and the Break the Bias Forum is a unique opportunity to bring together different stakeholders to share their perspectives on what we can collectively do. By engaging in constructive dialogues that shed light on both significant achievements and barriers that remain on this journey, we are better equipped to accelerate progress. We hope you will all join us and leave inspired because ‘when women thrive, humanity thrives’.”

Her Excellency Ohood Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, will open the Break the Bias Assembly, where she will outline the UAE’s vision for the future with women playing a central role across all spheres. Women’s leadership across various sectors will be a focus in the event, with Anita Bhatia, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director, UN Women also slated to address audiences.

A dedicated session on diplomacy, featuring government leaders and diplomats from the UAE, Switzerland and Paraguay will spotlight the 2022 edition of the Women in Diplomacy Index, an annual publication released by the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy. A fireside chat with trailblazing Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, US Department of State are also on the agenda.

Women shaping the world of business will examine how to overcome barriers in all industries during a session that will include Laura Lane, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, UPS, while Sabine Holl, IBM Vice President – Technical Sales and Chief Technology Officer, IBM Middle East and Africa, will hone in on the technology sector. The Assembly will also welcome the voices of change-making youth, and tackle gender equality and women’s empowerment in sports, climate and healthcare.

In addition to a musical performance, a photography exhibition of work by leading female photographers will be on display throughout the day, including Aida Muluneh, Iris Brosch, Marilyn Stafford, Mono Giraud, and Reka Nyari.

The Break the Bias Forum – curated by the Women’s Pavilion by Expo 2020 in collaboration with Cartier – will welcome the UAE’s first female minister, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, former UAE Minister of State for Tolerance, to share her remarkable experiences.

The high-level ‘Redefining the Future for Women’ session will feature leaders and policymakers committed to creating a more equal future by challenging gender stereotypes that play out across cultures and sectors, including Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh; His Excellency Dr Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to His Highness the UAE President; and Her Excellency Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General, World Trade Organization. Renowned changemakers will then address how to debunk stereotypes in pop culture, whether in TV and movies or magazines and social media content. To inspire the audience, a select group of celebrities will read aloud letters written to the next generation of girls inviting them to take their rightful place in society to drive gender equality forward.

The Al Wasl dome ceremony, organised by Cartier, will build on the day’s rich programming. Among other performers, slam poet Emi Mahmoud will take the stage alongside the orchestra of renowned composer Thomas Roussel, who promises a breathtaking show alongside a dance performance and gospel music.

Visitors can explore the full agenda for the International Women’s Day events and register their interest in attending on this link. International Women’s Day is part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Programme for People and Planet, which centres around 10 Theme Weeks that offer an exchange of inspiring new perspectives to address the greatest challenges and opportunities of our time.

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