Today, The Countess of Wessex celebrated International Women’s Day in Malta, as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle supported the ‘Stemettes’ in Birmingham, and The Duchess of Cornwall showed her support for the ‘Women of the World’ organisation.
Sophie began her visit on Wednesday evening, attending a dinner for senior business leaders in her role as Global Ambassador for the 100 Women in Finance Next Generation Initiative.
This morning, however, the Countess began a full day of engagements in Malta. She opened the Maltese Stock Exchange in Valletta alongside Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the country’s President.
Joe Portelli, Chairman of the Malta Stock Exchange said: “We’re honoured that Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex, on behalf of 100 Women in Finance, and Her Excellency the President of Malta, have marked International Women’s day with us by ringing the opening bell.
“Malta has a rich heritage as a successful, growing and inclusive financial services centre. We recognise the importance of increasing gender diversity as a way of sustaining long-term prosperity of the sector.”
The last time the Countess was in Malta on official business was in 2012, with her husband, The Earl of Wessex.
After this, Sophie attended the Business Professional Women Careers Day at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, where she participated in a question and answer session with the President, fielding questions from young women on the opportunities and challenges in the workplace.
HRH The Countess of Wessex and @presidentMT Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca participated in a Q&A Session with students as part of ‘Careers’ Day 2018’ on the occasion of #IWD2018 pic.twitter.com/4yjlni9zZZ
— UK in Malta (@UKinMalta) March 8, 2018
The Royal then attended a luncheon at the Palace of the Grand Master. The lunch, which was held to mark International Women’s Day, celebrated female politicians and business leaders.
In the afternoon, Sophie visited the University of Malta in Valetta, before attending an evening reception at Casino Maltese, hosted by 100 Women in Finance. Other guests included The President of Malta and the Maltese Prime Minister.
The Countess of Wessex attended a lunch to mark #IWD2018 at the historic Palace of the Grand Master. Hosted by the President of Malta, invitees included female politicians and business leaders. pic.twitter.com/Rq2n2MrV1D
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 8, 2018
100 Women in Finance is a global network for women in the finance and alternative investments industries. The initiative was launched in 2001, and now operates across 22 financial centres, with Malta joining in 2016. As Global Ambassador, Sophie serves as an advocate for ‘increased diversity in the financial services industry, and for raising the industry’s visibility and appeal as young women consider career paths’.
Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Finance, and Elaine Mulcahy, Chair of 100 Women in Finance’ Malta Committee, both made remarks at the event, describing the organisation’s activities and its future.
The Countess also made a speech, where she said: “We know that young people need role models to inspire them to success. We need to encourage successful women to be visible to those yet to follow them.”
Her Royal Highness also shared a message about Musfeka, an inspirational young woman from Bangladesh who is featured in a new film by The Diamond Jubilee Trust, which is works across the Commonwealth to end avoidable blindness and empower young leaders ‘in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’. Musfeka Nasnin is educating over 200,000 people across Bangladesh about blindness caused by diabetes.
Sophie said: “I met Musfeka, the young woman who is the subject of this film, in Bangladesh a few months ago. This International Women’s Day I pay tribute to her and other women across the Commonwealth and the world for all they are doing to help bring vision to everyone, everywhere.”
The Countess will return to London tomorrow.