Mon, 2018-04-09 23:37
JEDDAH: Women will take center stage on Tuesday at a high-profile gathering in Jeddah of top female executives, decision makers and professionals.
The inaugural Arab Women Forum at King Abdullah Economic City will focus on the empowerment of Arab women and their changing role in the Middle East.
The event, co-sponsored by Arab News and the Dubai publisher Mediaquest, is part of the eighth annual Top CEO Awards event. Among the speakers will be the MBC presenter and UNICEF ambassador Muna Abusulyman; Ambareen Musa, founder and CEO of SouqalMal.com; Allegra Salvadori of the UN Development Program; and Asil Attar of Alyasra Fashion.
Topics to be discussed include how to empower female entrepreneurs, such as improving access to credit needed to start businesses, and the representation of Arab women in regional politics and in corporate boardrooms. The launch of the event reflects the reforms seen in Saudi Arabia over the past year that have granted greater freedoms to Saudi women. Last September, women were given the right to drive, with the decree coming into force this June.
In January, women were allowed for the first time to attend football matches in Saudi Arabia.
The changes form part of a wider reform program spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify the economy and drive growth. “Given the raft of reforms underway in Saudi Arabia, there could not be a more appropriate and meaningful time to host such an event,” said Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News.
“Arab News has been taking a leading role in both reporting on the changes underway in the Kingdom, and in 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 Arabias female workforce and the wider society as a whole.”
Julien Hawari, co-CEO of Mediaquest, said: “The GCC and Saudi Arabia are going through a paradigm shift. The consequences of this fundamental transformation are many and are accelerating, resulting in profound economic change and the empowerment of women. This is transforming businesses and society.”
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