Sheikha Bodour sheds light on future of women in technology - GulfToday

Sheikha Bodour sheds light on future of women in technology


Sheikha Bodour during the award ceremony at the SRTI Park in Sharjah. WAM

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Chairperson of Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation (SRTI) Park, Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, on Wednesday welcomed inspiring women from around the world to The Women in Tech Forum and The Women in Tech Awards held at the SRTI Park – events shedding light on how women can play a greater role in the technology sector and celebrating their achievements.

Delivering the opening address to assembled guests and delegates at the forum, Sheikha Bodour said it was humanity’s collective responsibility to open pathways into tech for girls and women. “We mustn’t let the tech sector grow while leaving half of humanity behind,” she said.

“When technology and feminine energy intersect, the focus becomes human-related aspects like accessibility, sustainability, and ethics. By empowering women and closing the digital gender gap there will be a positive social impact that benefits us all.”

Sheikha Bodour applauded the SRTIP team for embodying the values of inclusivity and collaboration, which she said was central to its sustainability efforts.

“I’m proud of the work we’re doing here, especially as UAE prepares for the COP28 conference,” she told the audience.

“We’re among the most proactive players supporting the UAE’s efforts to combat climate change through concrete projects to reduce our carbon footprint and develop sustainable infrastructure.”

Now in its fourth edition, the annual Women in Tech Forum was coordinated by the Women in Tech organisation.

It brought together an array of stakeholders including researchers, experts, representatives of international organisations, advocates of women's empowerment, and female entrepreneurs, providing immersive knowledge sharing experiences, engaging debates, and valuable networking opportunities.

Themed on "Sustainability and Sustainable Innovation" the forum was not only a platform for dialogue but also a celebration of women's accomplishments in this crucial sector, aligned with the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) supporting efforts to achieve climate neutrality.

Addressing the gathered attendees, Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTI Park, expressed his belief in the shared goals of the forum and SRTI Park, focusing on enabling women in technology ventures and promoting their economic empowerment.

Distinguished panellists led by Dr Ebtesam Almazrouei, Executive Director and acting Chief AI Researcher for the Al-Cross Center Unit at the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) and Haleema Alowais, CEO of Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Real Estate, delved into the invaluable contributions, unique perspectives, and inspiring stories of women shaping successful family enterprises.

The panel addressed the pivotal role of women in advancing SDGs as a critical pathway ahead of COP28.

Prominent speakers, including Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), highlighted the importance of female contribution to sustainability.

The contribution, challenges, and triumphs of women driving innovation and progress in manufacturing and in advanced industry were highlighted by leading personalities, including Dr Eng. Suaad Alshamsi, UAE’s first female aircraft engineer, and Fadi Abu Shamat, Head of MX Division at Samsung Gulf Electronics.

An engaging discussion was held on the role of young people in driving positive change, fostering sustainability, and addressing global environmental challenges. Young innovators and entrepreneurs shared their inspiring projects and initiatives.

Following these important forums and discussions, came the Women in Tech MENA Awards.

In its second edition in the UAE, these awards recognise and celebrate women achievers in the technology sector and mark a significant step in the promotion of women’s empowerment and leadership in the fields of science, technology, and innovation.

Sumayyah Al Suwaidi won Arts Award powered by Amazon Music. The Aspiring Teen Award was won by Noor Mazen Al Sadat.

Melda Akin got the Best Ally Award. The Start-Up Award  was won by Wafa Al Obaidat. The winner of the Most Impactful Award went to CONCAT. Woman in Web3 Award was won by Dina Sam’an. Global Leadership Women in Tech Award was won by Dr Ebtesam Al Mazrouei. The winner of Women in Tech Lifetime Achievement Award was Dr Mariam Mohamed Fatima Matar. The Most Disruptive Award was won by Fatima Al Kaabi.

This event is one of seven regional awards that celebrate remarkable women who innovate, inspire, and work to transform the technology sector.

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