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HeForShe Leading the Charge: A Recap of COP28 Activities

HeForShe At COP

The HeForShe Alliance took center stage at COP28, strategically engaging in a mission to propel gender-responsive climate action to the forefront. The vision: to ensure that the rights and interests of women and girls, in all their diversity, become integral to every facet of climate initiatives deliberated and implemented. 

DP World & UN Women Panel Discussion: Women, Climate and Resilient Communities  

Kicking off the series of impactful events, a compelling panel discussion in collaboration with DP World shed light on the pivotal role of women in climate resilience. The sobering statistics laid bare the disproportionate impact on women—higher rates of poverty, limited resource access, and an unfair burden of climate-related displacement. 

The crisis, however, holds the seeds of hope. When women actively engage in climate solutions, communities thrive. The Gates Foundation's study underscores the transformative power of women's economic agency, while a UN Women study projects that closing the gender gap in agricultural productivity could lift over a million people out of poverty. 

Justine Jones from HSBC delved into the bank's Climate Strategy, emphasizing a commitment to a net-zero global economy and the importance of female representation in leadership. HSBC showcased how a private sector entity can not only make climate-positive commitments but also influence clients and regulatory environments positively. 

Marina Madale of MTN Group highlighted initiatives to bridge the digital gender gap, emphasizing the pivotal role of equal opportunities for women and girls in the digital realm. Connecting women to the vast network of information, especially through the internet, became a focal point for driving climate action, adaptation initiatives, and early warning systems. 

Ayla Bajwa of DP World passionately emphasized the company's commitment to community resilience, empowering women and girls with access to climate education. DP World's investment in girls and women stands as a noteworthy example of a private sector player contributing to an inclusive sustainability approach. 

The event concluded with a powerful call to action from Nivi Sharma, CEO of Bridges to Prosperity.  

“To the men: Allyship matters. Successful men like the Chairman of DP World are part of HeForShe because they understand the power of their voice in ensuring women’s involvement in every decision at COP28 and beyond. 

To business leaders: Diversity in your workplace and leadership isn’t just a progressive concept; it’s essential for business success. A McKinsey report confirms that diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their peers. 

Government leaders, ask yourself: what legacy do you want to leave? How many times have we prioritized revenue over sustainability? What will our grandchildren deem more important? 

To the women in the room: We’ve been told to get a seat at the table, to lean in, to speak up. It's time we change this table.” 

The call to action was clear: the solution to the climate crisis lies in gender equity. 

HSBC and HeForShe Panel: HeForShe as a Driver for Male Allyship for Gender Equality 

The second event, a roundtable co-organized with HSBC MENAT, brought together private sector entities interested in pursuing gender equality in their business practices. The discussion focused on the pivotal role of male allyship for gender equality in the private sector. This working roundtable explored cultural change and gender equality in the MENAT region, delving into achievements, challenges, and actionable plans. The session fostered an honest dialogue among corporate partners, uniting in their commitment to propel male allyship forward, thereby advancing gender equality in the region. 

The HeForShe activities at COP28 not only shed light on the stark realities faced by women in the wake of climate change but also provided a platform for impactful solutions and collaborations. The call to action resonates beyond the conference halls, urging a collective effort to intertwine gender equity with climate resilience for a sustainable future. 

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