Camilla delivers empowering speech urging people to ‘pull other women up’

·3-min read
 (afp/AFP via Getty Images)
(afp/AFP via Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cornwall on Wednesday spoke of the importance of “reaching out to pull other women up” as she carried out two solo engagements focusing on empowering women.

Addressing guests at an event for the Women of the World Foundation, of which Camilla is President, she said: “There are so many inspirational ladies here doing so many things and they have done it by themselves. We’ve got the first lady plumber here, someone from the Army, so many things.

“I think here [in Jordan] would be the perfect place to start a WoW. I feel we could do a great job here.

“I have written down a speech but I seem to have gone off-piste a bit!”

She went on: “I heard some wise words from Queen Rania. Her Majesty once said “When a woman succeeds, she reaches out to those around her and pulls them up to her. That is why when you empower women, you empower a whole society.”

“The collective experience of the women in this room proves the truth of those words.”

She added there was now “serious reaching out and pulling up across our two countries”.

At the WoW event, which was held at the Manara (the Arabic word for ‘lighthouse’) Arts and Culture Café in the cultural district of Amman, Camilla had a cuddle with four-week-old baby Sarah Abu Ammerah.

Sarah’s mother Dr Alaa Azzam, 42, a Physics Professor at the University of Jordan, said: “The Duchess said to me “Sarah will be one of the women of the future and that is very inspiring.”’

Camilla was presented with a picture of herself, framed with the words “Women Empowerer”.

She also received a quirky gift of a model man made from sink pipes and a tap from Jordan’s first female plumber Khawla Al-Sheikh.

Camilla looked at it, smiled and said: “At least I know where to go now if I need a tap!”

Khawla, 58, told the Duchess she had been inspired to train as a plumber after fixing her mother’s leaky tap. She has now trained more than 500 women in the trade, many of whom have gone on to start up their own businesses.

Other prominent Jordanian women included Rana Husseini, the journalist and author, Engineer Abeer Al Bashiti, who is due to launch a mental health App and Lt Colonel Maha Al Nasser, director of women’s affairs in the Jordanian Armed Forces.

Jude Kelly, director of WoW, told the women gathered at the event: “It has been amazing to have the Duchess as our President.

“I hope you know I’m being honest when I say that she is absolutely rigorously committed to talking about the things that people are not supposed to talk about very much.

“To have the support not just of the Duchess but of fine women and girls around the world makes us think we can do this.”

Earlier in the day, Camilla visited the Princess Taghreed Girls School where she was greeted at the entrance by girl scouts and presented with a bouquet of flowers by Salma, 8, in traditional Jordanian dress.

The Duchess met five-year-old children – a mix of Jordanians and Syrian refugees - who were learning Arabic and Maths with the RAMP programme.

RAMP is a programme supported by Britain and USAid which teaches 650,000 boys and girls with reading and maths skills.

The school’s older pupils were also given a chance to meet the Duchess and share some of their career aspirations for the future.

When Dina, 16, said she wanted to be a pilot when she grew up, Camilla replied: “Perhaps one day I could get on an airplane and you will be at the helm of it.”

As she left, Camilla told the girls: “Good luck to everybody. I hope it all works out as you wish.”

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