Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan spoke at the 2018 HeForShe Impact Summit in New York on Wednesday, 26 September.
Speaking at the event held on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly, Her Majesty talked about the need for increased attention on the challenges Arab women are facing. Alluding to the ongoing Syrian conflict and other turmoil in the Middle East, Queen Rania stressed that women are disproportionately affected by crises, adding that “women slip off national agendas, increasing the gap between hardship and hope,” during those challenging times.
Queen Rania went on to praise HeForShe for their work for gender equality stating that the organisation should be commended for “awakening women and men to the promise of new horizons.”
Her Majesty recognises that gender inequality is an issue across the globe. She added that no matter where in the world a person is, cultures and differences do not matter. All women are working toward the same thing, “As someone who travels between East and West, hearing women’s stories, I can tell you: when it comes to the issue of women’s empowerment, distances shrink and differences fade.”
Queen Rania continued discussion universal challenges all women across the world face, but especially in the Middle East, “On top of these universal challenges, women in my region face another heartbreaking set of hurdles,” she stated. “Through civil war and armed conflict, unemployment and forced displacement, Arab women are digging deep to hold their families together in the most testing conditions.”
The Queen also stressed, “Empowerment is contagious – I see it lighting up the faces of our youngest girls. It’s what I call ‘the reverse domino effect’: lift up one woman, and she’ll lift up others, who lift up more.”
She concluded her remarks by imploring everyone to reach across party lines and borders to help and life up women “weighed down by hurdles.”
HeForShe is a UN initiative for gender equality. Their official website describes them saying, “HeForShe is inviting people around the world to stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality. And it starts by taking action right now to create a gender equal world.”