The Embassy of the State of Qatar in the United States, in partnership with the Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT), the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) and Qatari Businesswomen Association (QBWA) hosted virtual forum under the title of “Qatari Businesswomen: Shaping the Present. Leading the Future.”
This virtual forum featured a panel discussion with prominent Qatari businesswomen, presented by Terra Sabag, Chief of Staff, US Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-02). It was moderated by Vice President and Head of Government Relations in the Office of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Affairs at MetLife Amanda Horan.
Entrepreneur and board member of Qatari Businesswomen Association (QBWA) Mashael Al Ansari, entrepreneur Reem Al Suwaidi, and entrepreneur and founder of SOCIETE Sara Al Sayed participated in the panel discussion.
The President of WIIT Andrea Durkin opened the panel discussion by highlighting the leadership role of the State of Qatar in the field of business, noting that women in the State of Qatar have the highest rate of economic participation in the Arab world and among the highest in the world, as well as that the State of Qatar has the second lowest unemployment rate in the world.
For its part, QBWA Vice Chairwoman Aisha Al Fardan delivered a speech in which she discussed the crucial role women play in Qatar.
Al Fardan pointed out that while women have increasingly gained leadership roles in the country for several years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated the transition process, as the changing nature of business performance helped clarify the vital contributions of women in various fields in the State of Qatar and on global level as well.
She concluded her speech by inspiring women and urging them to achieve their ambitions in the State of Qatar, stressing that the State relies on them to help drive economic growth for generations to come.
For her part, HE President of US-Qatar Business Council Ambassador Anne Patterson emphasized the strength of the educational system in the State of Qatar as a major reason for increasing women’s economic empowerment, noting that the country recently ranked among the top 10 countries in the world in the World Economic Forum’s ranking, based on a set of international standards.
HE Ambassador Patterson said that Texas A&M University at Qatar, which is considered a pioneer in educating specialists in the oil and gas industry, actually contributes to the graduation of female engineers specializing in the oil sector from its Doha campus more than it does from its main campus in the United States, noting that this is an evidence of Qatar’s strong educational system and a testament to the increasing central role women play in the country’s economy.
US-Qatar Business Council’s President addressed the issue of female foreign leadership, saying that it sometimes makes American companies which want to invest in the country more conservative, pointing out that foreign female leaders are welcome and successful in the State of Qatar, as they are heads of small and medium-sized enterprises, or local representatives of large multinational corporations.
She also stressed that a group of industries outside the oil, gas and defense sectors are growing rapidly in the State of Qatar, which has provided many great opportunities for US companies considering global expansion, highlighting in particular the sports industry.
In turn, Amanda Horan, Vice President and Head of Government Relations in the Office of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Affairs at MetLife, indicated that the proportion of women in its companies in the State of Qatar is more than 62 per cent.
Entrepreneur and board member of Qatari Businesswomen Association (QBWA) Mashael Al Ansari highlighted the extent to which views on the role of women in business have changed in the State of Qatar over the course of her career, as women are increasingly welcomed not only in the workforce but as leaders in the business sector, especially as the country became a global economic platform.
Entrepreneur Reem Al Suwaidi pointed out that the public culture, in her personal experience, began to accept women more than before in business leadership.
She said that the State of Qatar has taken steps to facilitate remote work, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, which significantly increased economic opportunities for women.
Sara Al Sayed, the entrepreneur and founder of SOCIETE, confirmed that women in the State of Qatar now have access to a range of promising and important opportunities, noting the mechanisms of opening and operating companies in the State of Qatar. She also referred to the logistical challenges she faced and her approach to creating successful projects, as well as the support provided by Qatar Development Bank and Bedaya Center.
A video, prepared by Dana Al Fardan in partnership with the US Air Force Central Command, was displayed at the end of the forum.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs