DUBAI (Rahnuma): Female participation in politics and decision-making is not only essential for effective democratic governance but is also a symbol of hope and inspiration for women of the next generation, the Global Women’s Forum in Dubai heard on Monday.
Among the prominent speakers who drove home this message on the second and final day of the conference at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah was Theresa May, who served as the UK’s prime minister from 2016 to 2019.
She called on all women in government to support one another and to lead by example.
“I would ask every woman in a leadership role, when they leave here, to actively encourage other women to come through and share their experiences,” she said, adding: “When you meet a woman who has aspirations, encourage her.”
Drawing on over two decades of experience in British politics, May reflected on the ideal characteristics of female politicians today, advising others in senior roles to be themselves.
“I wouldn’t say being yourself is a liability or advantage,” she said. “I think it’s important for your own self-esteem and for interactions with others to be yourself and to be true to yourself.”
She urged women to “have an open-minded attitude,” and to recognize that they “shouldn’t be pigeonholed into particular stereotypes.”
“I did politics in a different way from the men,” she said, adding that while some women felt they had to socialize more with men, she did not.
May said: “I did it my way. I was myself — and hey, I became prime minister.”