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Muslim woman power on the rise
Dubai |By Shadiah Abdullah, Staff Reporter | 09-03-2004
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Muslim countries are beginning to awaken the creative force of their woman power, said Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan.

Benazir said this at a ceremony yesterday at Dubai Women's College (DWC) in conjunction with the United Nations International Women's Day. She said: "This is becoming possible with the emphasis on education, health facilities for women and work opportunities."

She stressed the important role education plays in a woman's life. "Education is the first step to success, independence and to a satisfying life where the full creative and intellectual powers of a person are used."

She praised the leadership of the UAE who valued education for women. Benazir rejected the misconception that Islam is against women empowerment pointing to the fact the religion condemned the practice of killing the girl child which was a prevalent Arabian custom.

"I became prime minister of a Muslim country because I was inspired from the fact that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) married a working woman."

Dr Awadh Saleh from Unesco greeted women on behalf of Koichiro Matsuura, the organisation's director general. She talked about 'Women Make the News in 2004', a newly launched Unesco initiative to advance the role of women in journalism worldwide.

Dr Meshgan Al Awar, Director of Police Research and Studies Centre, emphasised the importance of knowledge-based economies. The event was attended by other dignitaries, a GCC delegation, members of the local business community and DWC students and graduates.

As part of their project-based curriculum, DWC diploma students arranged for educational and cultural tents which featured women of the UAE and women from the Arab region. The numerous themed tents included high profile UAE women from various fields such as business, media, art and culture, health and medicine, books and fashion.

The students also set up country specific tents which included female experts from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Bahrain, Qatar and Tunisia. Food stalls representing various foods in the region were also part of the festivities.

A Palestinian folk dance, a poetry reading session, a mock UAE wedding and a dance performance by the UAE children were also held.

"The college is proud to celebrate the day, an occasion marked by women around the world since 1909, that focuses on the struggle of women for equality, justice, peace and development," stated Dr Howard Reed, DWC Director.

"By introducing our students to female role models from the UAE and Arab region, we are encouraging them to focus on their goals and make their dreams a reality."

The opening ceremony also launched a three-day event hosted by DWC's Unesco Chair of Communications Technology and Journalism titled: 'Using Information Technology as Empowerment Tools for Women Media Practitioners in the Gulf Region'.

The workshops will present a combination of theory and practical applications of the state-of-the-art technologies to advance the career goals of women working in print and broadcast media in the Gulf region.

Female media practitioners will share knowledge and experiences utilising information technologies in media work with academics and leading media figures. The workshop is being held in cooperation with Unesco's regional office in Doha, Qatar, the Undp office in Abu Dhabi and the UAE-Unesco National Commission.

How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?

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