Expo 2020 Dubai is the first world's fair since the 1900s to have a stand-alone pavilion dedicated to women. The focus of Expo 2020 is on gender equality, recognising the important roles that women play and the contributions of all members of society.
Driven by the shared belief that the global goals of sustainable development and aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous world require gender equality and women's independence, Expo 2020 and the luxury House of Cartier, which encourages creative dialogue and supports artistic expression, are joining forces to remind the world that the full and equal participation of women in all spheres is essential to building a more equitable and just world.
By celebrating the significant (and often overlooked) contributions of women, the Women's Pavilion demonstrates an important principle: when women prosper, all of humanity prospers. It highlights the important contributions women have made to the advancement of societies, as well as the challenges they still face, especially as the world navigates the VCT-19 pandemic and works towards a more sustainable future.
The Women's Pavilion consists of five structures with different narratives located on the ground floor:
1) Introduction: expressing the purpose of the pavilion
2) Achievements: highlighting the impact of women on the world
3) Challenges: identifying what holds women back
4) Solutions: highlighting initiatives that enable women to flourish so that humanity can flourish
5) Engaging visitors: encouraging visitors to become representatives of gender equality and women's empowerment and to move forward.
The Women's Pavilion brought together a diverse community of creators and artists who contributed to its design and organisation:
- Inspired by Cartier's creative heritage references, French architect Laura Gonzalez reimagines the upper part of the pavilion's façade, together with Dubai-born artist Kholoud Sharafi and French lighting designer Pauline David.
- International multidisciplinary artist El Seed, born in France to Tunisian parents, immersed himself in his heritage and learned to read and write standard Arabic. Using Arabic calligraphy to spread messages of peace, unity and to highlight the commonalities of human existence, his unique work transforms the lower part of the pavilion's façade.
- Lebanese actress and the first Arab director to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the powerful Capernaum, Nadine Labaki is known for showing everyday aspects of Lebanese life and addressing issues such as war, poverty and feminism. Nadine will direct the introductory film for the Women's Pavilion, highlighting the brand's manifesto "when women flourish, humanity flourishes".
- French actress, screenwriter and director Mélanie Laurent is taking over the second floor of the pavilion to curate an immersive exhibition promoting dialogues between cultural, artistic and social fields in three sections. The first section highlights the universal link between women and their ecosystems through a sculpture and a series of exclusive photographs taken and selected by Mélanie. The second section invites visitors to discover a virtual reality film, presenting stories of women from all over the world, known and not so known, who navigate through their experiences. The third and final section brings to life an exclusive audiovisual artwork reflecting the voices of women from around the world.
Finally, the pavilion includes a "Majlis", a dynamic and open space for artists, scientists, opinion leaders, politicians, entrepreneurs and business leaders to engage in constructive and solution-oriented conversations on women's empowerment. This Majlis includes the Women in Arabia and Islam series, highlighting real stories of women who have led the way throughout history, inspiring other women around the world to reach new heights.
During the Expo, the Women's Pavilion hosts a series of meaningful events, programmes and dialogues that not only increase knowledge and understanding of gender equality and women's empowerment, but also lead to concrete and collaborative actions that can be shared with the world. Expo 2020 and Cartier are also celebrating International Women's Day on 8 March 2022 by hosting a global forum on the theme "Creating New Opportunities".