The stage is set to address the opportunities and challenges that impact women in leadership positions in the public and private sector as Dubai prepares to welcome delegates to the 16th edition of the Women in Leadership Economic Forum 2014.
Self-made women who have successfully incorporated gender parity within the private sector, as well as women from the public sector who have made a difference to the community advocating for female entrepreneurship and innovation will converge at the Meydan Hotel from 19-20 November.
Under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Economy, the current edition of the forum is organised by naseba, a French business facilitation company with on-the-ground presence in major cities across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
At the two day forum, Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority and Founder, will present an inspirational speech on female entrepreneurs in the UAE and women’s leadership in local and international markets. She will also make a case for the empowerment of women and youth through various social initiatives.
Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour said “Human capital is the most valuable asset for any nation. There is no doubt that our world is facing real and pressing challenges, which is why collective effort is needed in creating solutions and why supporting women’s leadership is a socially and economically vital undertaking.
The WIL Forum provides an excellent platform for women who have already proved themselves as successful leaders to come together and find concrete ways to empower other women and tap into the vast pool of potential that women represent women represent. I look forward to taking part in this very important event.”
A leading advocate of women empowerment and distinguished as one of the 100 most powerful women in the region, Her Excellency Fatima Al Jaber, Board Member, Al Jaber Group and Chairperson, Abu Dhabi Businesswomen’s Council, will serve as a panellist on ‘Women Game Changers: Vision 2020 and the Future of Business’.
Maha K Al-Ghunaim, Group CEO, Global Investment House, Kuwait, who has been recognised as one of ‘The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World’ and named among the ‘100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen in Public Shareholding Companies’ by Forbes, will headline a panel on ‘Women Transforming Economies – Womenomics: The Next Emerging Market’.
Dr. Leila Hoteit, Partner and Managing Director, the Boston Consulting Group, will explore human capital development in a multicultural environment as a panelist on ‘What next best D&I practices look like – tools for cultural transformation and leadership”.
Dr. Hoteit said: “In the Middle East, gender diversity – especially across leadership roles – should no longer be considered optional. It must be unequivocally and imperatively part of a company’s DNA. Today, senior business leaders are using diversity as a point of strategic differentiation and as a powerful instigator of growth. After all, given the growing number of female customers across markets, there is certainly a strong need for a diverse leadership team that can connect with this specific audience segment. As the pipeline of female talent continues to expand, it is up to corporate stakeholders to make a ‘business case’ for investing in women and act as catalysts for change.”
Highlighting the media’s role in positioning women in business, politics and leadership, renowned journalist, Somayya Jabarti, Editor-in-Chief at Saudi Gazette, the first female editor-in-chief in Saudi Arabia, will headline a panel on ‘Why We Need more Women in Media, and its Role on Women’s Status in Leadership’.
Ahead of the event, Jabarti said: “Women’s role as decision-makers and leaders is no longer a question but an established premise. We are capable, willing and ready. What is questionable is the lead-footed pace at which women are appointed to such positions that is due to them based on hard work, experience and merit. Without fully utilizing women’s talent, skill and potential, there can be no progress.”
Cherie Blair, a leading lawyer, women’s rights campaigner and wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Her Excellency Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, will lead the conference as keynote speakers.
The Women in Leadership Forum has been actively promoting economic empowerment of women as well as diversity and inclusion in the workplace since its launch in 1999. The 16th edition will focus on issues such as women shaping the future of investments, role of women in corporate governance, and the media’s role in positioning women in business, politics and leadership. The event will additionally serve as a platform to explore opportunities for female corporate leadership in the light of Dubai’s Expo 2020 outing.
Interestingly, the body of sponsors for the forum comprises entities that have successfully incorporated gender parity at the corporate level with spectacular results, as well as successful multinational companies that support female entrepreneurship. Event sponsors include leading multinational business organizations Pfizer, Roche, Coca-Cola, AIG, Fedex, London Business School and APCO Worldwide.