On the occasion of Women’s History Month in March and the International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March, Canadians in Kuwait, a membership-based collective sharing Canadian culture in Kuwait, held a symposium to shed light on the significance of closing the global gender gap to increase female participation and leadership.

The meeting, which reflected this year’s IWD theme of ‘DigitAll: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’, was addressed by Mercedes Vazquez, a business and technology executive who advocates for increasing the representation of women in science, technology and other digital fields. The program began with a welcome speech by President of Canadians in Kuwait, Ishtiaq Malik.

In her keynote address to the gathering, Ms. Vazquez shared her life experiences that have been defined by taking leaps of faith. She added, as women, “our story is our legacy; our story can change lives and it has changed lives. When women thrive, society’s health and wealth rise together and global GDP diversifies sustainably”.

The event was also a ‘Tapping into the Untapped’ community event, named after the keynote speaker’s podcast, which was born out of her solid desire to advance a positive impact on communities. During the event, the attendees also reaffirmed their commitment to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) on gender equality, through various actions from providing access and opportunities to empowering communities through financing female-owned start-ups to educating girls in mathematics and providing women with quality access to world-class healthcare and advocating for women engineers in the corporate world.

For his part, Ishtiaq Malik, president of Canadians in Kuwait said, “I dedicate a part of my life to the service of our community, while promoting cultural exchange and fostering inclusion. Mercedes’ relentless journey was impactful to our community, it was inspiring and energizing to get our community mobilized to further action for good.”

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