If You’re Going To DubaiExpo 2020, Visiting The Women’s Pavilion Is A Must!

The Women’s Pavilion showcases women through history and how they have changed the world for the better, either known or unsung, as most are.

Dubai Expo, the world’s biggest show. Where, 192 countries have come together to showcase their culture, innovations and technological advancements. And jostling amongst them, close to the magnificent Al Wasl Plaza, is the Women’s Pavilion, showcasing the oft-forgotten contributions made by women since times immemorial.

As one enters the Women’s pavilion, there are two quotes emblazoned on the walls.

The first, “What’s Your Perspective?” challenges the visitor to look at women beyond the roles defined for them by society.

This quote, written on an angled wall, shows how our perception changes when we look at something from different angles. This is what the Women’s Pavilion wants to do. It wants the visitors to change their perception of women from beyond the roles women have been stereotyped into.

The second quote, written on a wall with undulating wooden blocks, says, “When Women Thrive, Humanity Thrives”.

This quote is simple. And yet, this is something we often choose to ignore. We all know that the nurturing nature of women can create a society that is just, equal, more humane. And yet, we continue to suppress women. Women in most countries continue to be overlooked, deprived of their basic right of respect and dignity.

women's pavilion

The two quotes when taken together, make the underlying theme of the Women’s Pavilion, “New perspectives: when women thrive, humanity thrives“.

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Women have always been #BreakingtheBias through history 

Most of us are unaware that the first university in the world was set up by a woman. Fatima bint Muhammad Al-Fihriya Al-Qurashiya set up the University of Al Qarawiynn, Morrocco, in 895 CE.

The exhibition halls of the Women’s Pavilion educate us about such women. Women whom the world has largely forgotten, and others like Rani Lakshmibai and Noor Jehan, who, despite adversities, rose so high that they could not be obliterated from history.

A walk through the Pavilion inspires you as a woman. You come across countless stories of women, known and unknown, who have broken the bias, excelled in their respective fields, and become role models of young girls around the world.

women's pavilion

A photo of Christine Legarde, the first woman to be Finance Minister of France, under the quote, “You cannot be what you don’t see”, underlines the fact that young girls need role models to aspire to. That the world needs more women to step forward, to inspire and motivate the future generations of women.

Not only the world-famous, but the Pavilion also honours the contributions of someone like Zubaida Ali, who might not be very well-known, who developed the Clean Birth Kit In A Purse to promote safe births. Thus, helping in cutting down infection rates and saving countless lives.

Women have always been erased from history

Interspersed with the inspiring stories are shocking statistics that force the visitors to introspect. Like the facts that

  • 132 million girls still do not attend school, 61% do not attend secondary school.
  • That while the number of women in parliaments is increasing, only ONE woman (till now) has negotiated and signed a peace treaty.
  • The Matilda Effect, where the contribution of women scientists are contributed to a man.

At the end of the Women’s Pavilion, the walls are covered with post-its. These are messages of support, encouragement, and hope written to women from the visitors.

The images and the information of the Women’s Pavilion are deeply imprinted in my mind, forcing me to write about it. Each turn, each wall of the pavilion forces the visitor to re-think, challenging their perspective.

The Women’s Pavilion needs to be visited by both men and women. It needs to be walked through slowly to imbibe its essence. And to change one’s perspective. 

Images source: YouTube

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