Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit Addresses Women’s Role in 16 Key Sectors

Six sector-specific sessions over two days will feature a host of women empowerment advocates global experts and senior industry figures.
Two Emirati businesswomen wearing abaya, traditional Emirati clothes, and two construction foremen standing over the table with blueprints and talking about last things to do. Men are wearing protective vests, one of them is wearing helmet. One woman is giving directions to them.

November 22nd, 2017, Sharjah (UAE): The role of women working in key sectors of the economy will be under the spotlight at the first edition of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS), which is being held December 4-5, 2017 at the Expo Centre Sharjah.

An initiative from NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the inaugural event will feature six sector-specific sessions that will bring together a host of local and global experts, women empowerment advocates and senior industry figures to address development horizons and opportunities available to women across specific sectors.

The six sessions will explore the strengths and weaknesses of women empowerment in their respective discussion topics that cover the areas of energy, sustainability, the environment, information and communication technology, information security, transport and logistics, travel, science, health, sports, city planning, infrastructure and architecture, marketing, and media and events management.

Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA.

“Through the six sector-specific sessions, as well as the key panels and workshops taking place at WEEGS, the two-day summit seeks to explore the realities of women working in fields that are the most significant for the economy. We will discuss the potential of women and how to seize opportunities in these fields, as well as how to surmount obstacles and overcome challenges in order to enhance women’s direct contribution and role in economic development,” said Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA.

“Enhancing women’s contribution in sectors such as energy, sustainability and urban planning, for example, will accelerate the world’s efforts to adopt a green economy that will have direct positive impact on the environment, as well as create thousands of new jobs. The engagement of women in fields such as information technology, communication and science will lead not only to new inventions and support development in all sectors, but will also contribute to economic growth. These are just the tip of the iceberg of what we can achieve if we empower women,” she added.

The first day of WEEGS features three parallel sector-specific sessions. The first: ‘Energy and Environment: The missing piece’ will address how women are ‘present absentees’ in these two industries. It will discuss the opportunities for women entrepreneurs to develop businesses in these fields and will draw on findings such as that of the International Energy Agency (IEA) that highlighted that: ‘In 2012, the world relied on renewable sources for around 13.2% of its total primary energy supply […] the IEA Medium-Term Renewable Energy Report 2015 foresees that share reaching at least 26% increase in 2020.’

The second session ‘Media and Marketing Creators’ will analyse how it is that women are heavily employed in the media and marketing sector but that so few of them reach leadership positions. The session will discuss the barriers that face women in the sector and the possible avenues that women entrepreneurs can utilise to grow their business ideas. It will also address the different needs and demands of large buyers, particularly in areas with a high-concentration of women suppliers, and how it is possible to establish a balance that will benefit women employees as well as women employers.

The first edition of WEEGS is being held under the patronage of the His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme council Ruler of Sharjah and wife of His Highness, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, Chairperson of NAMA and Honorary Patron of the Global Women’s Inclusion Initiative, with the aim of achieving the United Nation 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by the organisation’s General Assembly in September 2015.

The third and final session on the summit’s first day ‘Building an inclusive sector: Transport, Logistics and Travel’ will see experts explore the best procurement practices in transport, logistics and travel fields, as well as how to engage women entrepreneurs, some of whom will showcase their successful experience in accessing contracts in these sectors that are dominated by men. The discussion will draw on findings such as the PwC report that indicates that investment in roads in GCC countries and the Middle East is expected to increase by 116% between 2014-2025 to reach USD 31 billion (AED 114 billion) by 2025, thus showing the potential opportunity in just one sub-sector of the transport and logistics services sector.

The second day of WEEGS starts with a session that explores women’s role in information, communication technology and information security. Titled ‘Women in Technology,’ it will host a number of representatives of renowned global companies as well as industry experts and women entrepreneurs. They will discuss some of the most successful and innovative activities of women working in this field and assess ways of further empowering women to become involved in the technology sector.

Group of business executives joining hand in agreement

Science, health and sport are the topics of the second parallel sector-specific session on the second day of the summit. Titled ‘Science, Health and Sports: Ecosystems,’ the discussion will see experts and women entrepreneurs addressing the importance of creating an innovative environment in these fields in order to provide opportunities for women entrepreneurs and businesswomen, with these sectors considered key areas of economic interest in the MENA region. The session will examine an economy based on healthcare and investment in social infrastructure – including health insurance and pension schemes – as being a strategic sector with a growing supplier base of women-owned companies.

The final session on the second day ‘City Planning: from Inception to Application’ will focus on the role of women in city planning, infrastructure and architecture, with the reality being that women are underrepresented in these fields. The session will explore the importance of creating accountability systems to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment in these sectors, and the fundamental role that these systems should play in creating opportunities and positive outcomes for women’s employment and entrepreneurship. It will pinpoint how gender-responsive infrastructure investments, city planning and architecture, not only have a positive impact on women’s income and their time burden, such as ensuring better access to care services, but also create safe public spaces.

The first edition of WEEGS is being held under the patronage of the His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme council Ruler of Sharjah and wife of His Highness, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, Chairperson of NAMA and Honorary Patron of the Global Women’s Inclusion Initiative, with the aim of achieving the United Nation 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by the organisation’s General Assembly in September 2015.

The first ever WEEGS summit represents a significant collaboration between NAMA and UN Women who are joining hands to support and empower women economically in line with NAMA’s support to the global programme ‘Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs,’ which is being implemented locally with the aim of ensuring gender equality in the field of entrepreneurship in Sharjah and the UAE.

NAMA is calling on those who would like to take part at the first ever WEEGS to register at: http://weesummit.com/register.

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