• Private sector needs to do its part after Arabian Gulf countries have initiated social reforms to diversify workforce enhancing the role of women in traditional Arab societies
• Iconic Thought Leadership conference focusing on Arab women, which draws experts from across the world, is back in Dubai for 2022 after Bahrain and Saudi Arabia
DUBAI: Despite reforms and policy changes, Arab women continue to face numerous challenges to realize their full professional potential. The Covid-19 pandemic has given a rise to unique risks and to new opportunities for the enterprising Arab women.
The role of women at workplace transformed amid the recent lockdowns and owing to work from home scenarios. What new workplaces would look like for Arab women?
The 6th edition of the TOP CEO Conference on May 17 and 18 in Dubai will hold Arab Women Forum on day one. This unique platform focuses on enhancing gender diversity in the Arab economies to fully unleash the potential of women professionals and thought leaders.
In the fast-changing region, Arab women's role is key to the transformation and gender diversity. Between 2018 and 2021, the listed companies in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait have taken significant strides in including female directors on their boards. However, more needs to be done to unleash the full potential of Arab women's contribution to the region's markets.
Research by British firm State Street Global Advisors says that closing the gender gap in the workforce in the Middle East and North Africa, including the GCC countries could add US$2.7 trillion to the region's economy by 2025.
Arab women are an integral part of The Great Business Reset – the central theme of TOP CEO Conference and Awards this year.
From keynotes and discussions to debates, Arab Women Forum's objective is to analyze the transformational role of women in business, society, and politics to assess its impact on the future of the Arab world.
Despite huge strides in women empowerment, there a biased perception in the world regarding Arab women. Panel discussion Arab Women's Image will examine the challenges of rightly portraying growth of women. With stereotypes and shortcomings, Western and Asian media seldom report about women ministers or women heading financial institutions in the region. The session would investigate strategies to break the stereotypes.
With STEM being the future of the job market, Women in Tech session would highlight Arab women's achievements in the fields of science and technology. Regional and international experts would discuss the best ways to promote inclusion as major tech projects taking place in the region recruit a limited number of women. Analysts will also delve into education and cultural aspects of women pursuing careers in technological fields.
This year's Arab Women Forum has included two inspirational sessions – When Women Fight Back and Storytellers from the War Front. The Fight Back session will be led by two women from the renowned Netflix docudrama Tinder Swindler. The Storytellers session is about the daring brave women from the region who are relay information from the dangerous war zones. These two sessions are slated to inspire Arab women to break the glass ceiling and reach new heights.
Some of the other key sessions are: A new beginning: Work 2.0; The workplace of tomorrow; Saudi Women Pioneers: Change from Within, among others.
Commenting on this year's Arab Women Forum, the organizer Special Edition's CEO Julien Hawari said: “Today, global market forces are coming together in the post-pandemic economies to rebuild communities and businesses, and our region is no different.
“The Arab Women Forum highlights and recognize the resilience of women in the GCC where there have been several social and economic reforms that would help women in the long term. The event is back in Dubai which is a hub of optimism, innovation, and progress amidst the challenges such as Covid-19,” he added.
Launched in Saudi Arabia in 2018, Arab Women Forum is a platform to enhance and support the ever-growing contribution of Arab women in the region's economy and society. Held in parallel with the iconic TOP CEO Conference, the AWF is a high-profile gathering of women executives, decision-makers, and business leaders.
The event celebrating the GCC business leadership and Arab women will be held on May 17 and 18, 2022, at Palazzo Versace, Dubai, UAE.