Empowering women to lead a paradigm shift in the region’s business environment
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 11 April 2018: For the first time ever, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is hosting the ‘Arab Women Forum’ as part of the fourth edition of the ‘Top CEO Conference and Awards’, which kicked off on 10th April and will run until 11th April at King Abdullah Economic City. On the first day of the forum, an elite gathering of top female executives, decision makers, professionals, and experts on women empowerment and business leadership gathered at key sessions including ‘The Economic Revolution’, ‘Entrepreneurs’ and ‘The Community-Based New Economy’, among many others.
Julien Hawari, Co-CEO of Mediaquest — the company behind the ‘Arab Women Forum’ — commented: “This is an exciting and transformational time for women working in the Middle East, and the ultimate goal of our new forum is to enhance and support the growing contribution of Arab women to drive the region’s ongoing economic and social development. By providing attendees with a series of engaging keynote speeches and panel discussions, as well as strong networking opportunities, we are empowering women to lead a paradigm shift in the region and improving their potential to claim the senior positions they deserve.”
At ‘The Economic Revolution’ session, attendees engaged in open discussions about the wide-ranging benefits of including of women in the workforce in Arab countries, including boosting the GDP of the region, reducing unemployment, and kick-starting the economy in a new direction.
With credit representing the key constraint to female entrepreneurship in the Arab region and 39% of Arab firms reporting difficulties in this area, the ‘Entrepreneurs’ session explored the venture capital and investment situation, and debated whether women-led projects should be fast tracked to empower businesswomen.
‘The Community-Based New Economy’ session questioned whether technologies and the new sharing-based economy could pave the way for Arab women to become active economic members of society. The session also asked what can be done to achieve a more inclusive approach, how female representation can be improved, and what role technology can play.
The first day of the forum also explored the societal challenges that women face in business, with sessions dedicated to ‘Arab Women’s Image’ and ‘Political Representation’, and gave attendees the opportunity to hear from business women who have achieved a successful work-life balance in a session dedicated to ‘Balance’. During the forum, participants will be introduced to the ‘Women to Watch Network’, which includes women who have secured significant new jobs, taken on major new challenges, and achieved impressive successes that are positively changing the region’s business environment.
Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News commented, “Given the raft of reforms underway in Saudi Arabia, there could not be a more appropriate and meaningful time to host such an event. Arab News has been taking a leading role in both reporting on the changes underway in the Kingdom and pointing out the clear need for women to play key roles in Saudi society, and the many challenges ahead. “This conference aims to take this conversation forward — for the benefit of both Saudi Arabia’s female workforce and the wider society as a whole.”
The ‘Arab Women Forum’ is supported by Arab News as the Official Partner of the event. Women’s Forum as the Supporting Partner of the event and Haya magazine as the Media Parter.