KUWAIT: Boursa Kuwait lit up its office building in orange to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women designated by the United Nations, in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, the Women’s Research and Studies Center in the College of Social Sciences at Kuwait University, and Soroptimist Kuwait.
The 16 days of activism against violence against women and girls is an international campaign that takes place each year. It commenced on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day. Activists at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute began this initiative in 1991, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
The initiative forms part of Boursa Kuwait’s efforts to create a lasting meaningful impact on the communities where it operates as part of its corporate sustainability strategy, and is in line with Goal 5 – Gender Equality – and Goal 17 – Partnership for the Goals – of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the National Development Plan for the State of Kuwait, “New Kuwait 2035”.
COVID-19 has exacerbated all the risk factors for violence against women and girls (VAWG), including unemployment and poverty, and reinforced many of the root causes such as gender stereotypes and harmful social norms, with the most marginalized women, including women with disabilities, refugees or indigenous women amongst others, at disproportionate risk, facing greater barriers in accessing services and justice.
Under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE Campaign), calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations. Governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media and the UN must join forces to address the global pandemic of violence against women and girls.
This year’s theme, Orange the World: END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN NOW, will mobilize all UNiTE networks, civil society and women’s rights organizations, the UN system, the Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence, government partners, schools, universities, private sector, sports clubs and associations and individuals to advocate for inclusive, comprehensive and long-term strategies, programs and resources. The campaign also aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls in public and private spaces, highlight effective strategies and interventions, and promote the leadership of women and their meaningful participation in policy and decision-making.
Commenting on Boursa Kuwait’s participation in the UN initiative, Naser Al-Sanousi, Marketing and Communication Director at Boursa Kuwait, said, “Boursa Kuwait joins organizations from all over the world and partakes in the 30th anniversary of the “Orange the World” campaign and the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women. Through our participation, we want to highlight the importance of eliminating violence against women and girls and promote the leadership of women and their meaningful participation in policy and decision-making.”
In welcoming the lighting of iconic Kuwaiti buildings in orange to mark the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women, Susanne Mikhail, UN Women Regional Director for the Arab States said, “Ending violence against women is everyone’s business. It is inspiring to see the government, the private sector and civil society coming together in Kuwait to step up, taking this clear stand and demanding an end to violence against women now. The Orange the World Kuwait campaign is a powerful call for action for decision-makers, corporate leaders, and community influencers to work together to prevent violence against women and girls wherever it occurs.”
Dr Lubna Alkazi, Director of the Women’s Research and Studies Center in the College of Social Sciences at Kuwait University, also commented on Boursa Kuwait’s participation in the campaign, saying, “I am pleased to see Boursa Kuwait support the Orange Kuwait campaign and lighting its building in orange, confirming the company’s continuous efforts to support and empower women through sustainable development. It is worth noting that Boursa Kuwait was the first exchange in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to ring the bell to empower women on International Women’s Day and one of the signatories of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) ‘Statement of Support.”
Mae Al-Hajjaj, President of Soroptimist Kuwait, also hailed Boursa Kuwait’s involvement in this initiative, saying, “We are all required to stand up against violence in all its forms, believing in fairness, integrity and good conduct towards all. Soroptimist Kuwait has adopted the Orange the World initiative and its efforts towards the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. I would like to thank Boursa Kuwait for their participation and support, and look forward to more collaborations in the future.”
Boursa Kuwait is a champion of women’s empowerment and is a true pioneer in the inclusion of women in the workforce. The company has been involved in several initiatives dedicated to empowerment and inclusion and was the first stock exchange in the GCC to participate in the ‘Ringing the Bell for Gender Equality’ initiative, which it has participated in for the past four years.
Reaffirming the company’s commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Boursa Kuwait signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) ‘Statement of Support,’ which aims to deliver on the critical role businesses can play in the attainment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals outlined in the Agenda 2030.
Boursa Kuwait’s Corporate Sustainability strategy stipulates ensuring initiatives apply and fall in line with the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR), industry best practice standards and investor expectations, creating strong and sustainable partnerships that ultimately achieve success and allow Boursa Kuwait to leverage the capabilities and strengths of other companies or organizations that have experience in different fields, and integrating sustainability efforts with the company culture, in order to achieve longevity and an ongoing impact that is carried on and instilled in the day-to-day operations of the stock exchange.
As part of the strategy, Boursa Kuwait has launched many initiatives in partnership with local and international organizations, focusing on support for nongovernmental organizations and charity programs, financial literacy and capital market awareness, the empowerment of women, as well as environmental protection.