Gender equality in focus at Sharjah’s “Women in Technology Forum”

  • Tuesday 18, February 2020 06:00 PM
Sharjah24: The “Women in Technology” forum, organised by the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Complex in cooperation with the “Women In Tech” Foundation, has been launched on Tuesday in the presence of Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority “Shurooq”; Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Head of the Governmental Relations Department in Sharjah; Sheikha Dr. Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, first female Ministerial post in the UAE, and Najla Al Midfa, Executive Director of the Sharjah Entrepreneur Centre "Sheraa".
The Forum has seen the attendance of prominent figures such as global science organisations, women's empowerment organisations and women entrepreneurs, as well as the directors of Government Authorities and representatives from civil society.

This forum is the first event of its kind in the region. Its importance comes through focusing on women's leadership in scientific research and technological innovation. The forum plays a significant role in various areas of life and contributes to the leadership of society, embracing the number of global issues that highlight the role of women and their accomplishments. The Forum aims to highlight the role of women in technology and innovation, enhancing their impact at the global level, and maximising their contributions to social and economic development, as well as inspiring future generations of women to participate actively in building the country.

The forum started with the presentation of a film on the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Complex that included its vision, goals and current projects, in addition to its future plans. In an opening speech, Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP talked about the vision of the complex, which aims to provide an appropriate environment for creativity and innovation to raise the status of the Emirate of Sharjah as an International Destination of research and technology. Supporting the Emirate’s vision towards the knowledge-based economy by, encouraging and developing the innovation system. Supporting technological scientific research to carry out investment activities, in addition to encouraging women to be involved in these activities and support the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Hussain Al Mahmoudi said: "As the Academy works with many local and international partners on determining more economic empowerment opportunities for women in the region via the positioning of women as leaders of, beneficiaries from, and contributors to STIs. This is consistent with the outcome of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, by opening new job opportunities for women as well as transforming their challenges into opportunities. Furthermore, the impact of automation has led to the creation new jobs for women, which were previously reserved to men, since the demand on digital skills will increase by 55% by 2030; thus, it is inevitable for us to enhance women skills to cope with this future."

"SRTIP has recently announced the launch of "an innovative package for women" initiative in order to encourage women's engagement and investment in technology and innovation by introducing a special package for innovative business women to establish companies in various technical sectors. Such a package empowers women to obtain a business license, which enables them to carry out investment activities and enter the world of technical business for a nominal fee.

The launch of this package is a clear demonstration of our commitment to encourage women and support them to engage in technical investment by bolstering a system of research and development, its transformation into investment activities that would be of major benefit to them, and also the change of the traditional investment vision to keep up with everything that is new, better and convenient to them, so as they can achieve their ambitions in the domain of entrepreneurship", Al Mahmoudi added.

Ayumi Moore Aoki, The Founder and President of the Women In Tech Foundation, also spoke about the activities of the Foundation at the global level and the progress that women have achieved in the field of technology. She also added the significant development achieved by women in the emirate of Sharjah, the capital of knowledge and science in the region.

During the five sessions, in which leading figures of the public and private sectors represented a number of creative women who work in various technology and research sectors, summarised the main subjects of the forum such as gender equality and women empowerment, technology work centres at the regional level, exploring the scene of women’s leadership in the Middle East, women in innovation in the Emirates and the Middle East, important women entrepreneurs in the direction of innovation in the latest startups.

The exhibition accompanying the forum showcased activities of the complex and a number of companies operating in it. The Sharjah Open Innovation Laboratory "SOILAB" was presented as the first incubator for startups and innovative businesses in Sharjah. The Marlin International Company, one of the most important partnership projects that exist in the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park, focuses on the global level of identifying and developing innovative ways for a sustainable future, as it offers many technical solutions to take advantage of natural resources, such as innovative agriculture (horizontal, water and pneumatic), and solar water desalination devices. In addition to the Sharjah Business Women Council, through which a number of projects for women and businesswomen in Sharjah were presented. In addition to the company Nazo, specialised in ceramics and advanced technology in this field.

The forum’s sessions were moderated by the Experts of the various sectors, in which specialists and businesswomen from the Emirates and out of the United Arab Emirates have spoken, embracing more than 25 speakers and 400 delegates.