APRIL 10, 2018
BAY LA SUN HOTEL & MARINA,
KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY
The Top CEO Conference & Awards is launching the Arab Women Forum on April 10, 2018, at King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. The forum aims to enhance and support the growing contribution of Arab women to the region’s economy and society. From keynotes and discussions to debates, its objective is to analyze the transformational role of women in business and society and assess its impact on the future of the Arab society and economy. The forum aims to create a platform for open and candid discussions on the evolving role of women and the societal attitudes towards their success, challenges and opportunities at work, in society and in politics. The Arab Women Forum will be an elite, private gathering of top women executives, decision makers and professionals, as well as experts on women empowerment and business leadership.
BUSINESS THE ECONOMIC REVOLUTION
The inclusion of women in the workforce in Arab countries could boost the GDP of the region to reach an unprecedented level, reduce unemployment and kick-start the economy of the region to head towards a new direction. We will have open conversations on the benefits of this inclusion.
Women in the Arab world are poorly represented in the boardroom. What should be done to optimize the number of women in companies’ management circles?
Empowering women entrepreneurs to take risks may be one of the solutions to increase their contribution to the economy. A key constraint to developing the private sector is the access to credit. The relative share of Arab firms reporting difficulties with credit is 39 percent, the second largest in the world. As for the share of firms using banks to finance investments, it represents seven percent, the smallest in the world. What is the current situation with venture capital and investment, when it comes to women-led projects? Is there a need to set a fast track for women’s projects in technology or promising fields?
Over the years, Silicon Valley has been plagued by accusations of discrimination toward women in the tech industry. The summer 2017 witnessed a culmination of accusations that the new economy’s tech champions have widespread gender gaps, harassment and discrimination. With women under-represented in major tech companies across the world, the Middle East is not any different. With regional tech projects recruiting a limited number of women or rarely being founded and managed by women, what can be done to promote their inclusion?
THE COMMUNITY-BASED NEW ECONOMY
Are technologies and newly-based sharing economy paving the way for Arab women to leap from their current situation and become active economic members of society? What can be done to achieve a more women-inclusive approach in the region? What are current players doing to ensure an increased women representation? Which technologies can be used to create a virtuous circle and help optimize women involvement in society and businesses?
SOCIETY ARAB WOMEN’S IMAGE
With several issues to solve in addressing gender inequality, the Arab women’s image abroad is disastrous and reflects sometimes a situation far from reality. With stereotypes and shortcomings, Western media along with Asian media seldom report on women ministers or women heading financial institutions in the region. We will have an open discussion on the stereotypes and on how to fix them.
The penal code is usually indulgent towards male perpetrators of crimes of violence against women, notably spousal violence, rape and so-called honor crimes. Countries in the Middle East have been changing their laws to address violence against women. Which laws could help drive this change forward against all forms of violence.?
Citizenship in 12 countries in the region is still not given by the mother. Ten countries have made the change. Only 12 Arab countries allow women to apply for her passport on her own. Understanding how those countries achieved this and the hurdles that they faced is highly significant.
Women account for 23.4 percent of national parliamentarians in the world in 2017. In the Arab world, they represent on average 17 percent. Quota systems in countries, such as Iraq, Jordan and Palestine, ensure the presence of women in representative assemblies, from municipalities to parliaments. After introducing a quota in 2012, Algeria became the first Arab country to surpass the 30 percent target. We will take a look at the progress and at how to move forward.
THE BROKEN TRANSITION: FROM UNIVERSITY TO CORPORATE
Some Gulf states have the world’s highest female-to-male university enrollment ratios, even among extremely conservative families. However, when it’s time for the transition to work, women are underpaid and carry the double burden of corporate work and domestic work. Prejudices and harassments are part of every day’s work life for those women. No Arab country has issued a law against sexual harassment in the workplace. Improved gender equality leads to better economic opportunities for women. What should be done to help fix this situation?
Achieving balance between work and life has always been a challenge for women around the world. How do successful women make everything work perfectly? We will have a casual conversation with women who achieved this balance.
THE TURNING POINT
The breakthrough moment is the one that determines not only what you do, but who you are.
INITIATIVES WOMEN TO WATCH NETWORK
We closely look at women who have got a significant new job, who have taken on a major new challenge, who scored an impressive success or who are changing our region. Meet the honorees.
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