Dubai: The greatest challenges of our time demand the minds of talented women, and Expo 2020’s Women’s Pavilion in collaboration with Cartier is an “excellent and timely” reminder of the women who have led the charge for positive change in our societies, Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), said on Wednesday.
“We simply cannot afford to leave talented women behind when we tackle the great challenges that await us, such as climate change, such as inequality,” Lagarde said during the inauguration of the pavilion, offering her remarks virtually alongside in-person speakers including Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai.
“Fresh ideas [and] innovative solutions – like those showcased [in the Women’s Pavilion] – are needed if we want to build a more sustainable and more inclusive economy,” Lagarde added, describing the Women’s Pavilion as a “celebration of all those women, seen and unseen, who have trail-blazed societal change”.
Lagarde, who was France’s first female Finance Minister, the first female Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is the first female President of the ECB, said: “It was Abraham Lincoln who said ‘the best way to predict your future is to create it’. Let us rise to that challenge together.”
Under the exhibition titled ‘New Perspectives’, the Women’s Pavilion in collaboration with Cartier invites visitors to recognise the central role that women have played throughout history, leading up to the present, and celebrates their significant – yet often forgotten – contributions to advancing society.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy said: “Alongside the non-negotiable values of tolerance, inclusivity and opportunity for all, women’s equality and empowerment is not a choice, but a necessity. And so, in the half-century of our modern existence, we have emerged as a proof point for the principle that when women thrive, all of society thrives.”
Her Excellency Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office and Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said: “Though governments play a significant role in advancing women empowerment, they cannot succeed without meaningful collaborations with the private sector, civil societies and committed individuals.”
“When I’m asked what has been the defining moment of my career, with no hesitation I say when I met [my wife],” said Cyrille Vigneron, President and CEO of Cartier International. “She really made me. For many men, it’s like this, but we don’t acknowledge it.”
The pavilion addresses gender equality and women’s empowerment while also highlighting the challenges women still face, especially as the world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and works towards a more sustainable future.