Chairperson of Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation (SRTI) Park, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, yesterday 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 Al Qasimi 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 Al Qasimi 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® organization. It brought together an array of stakeholders including researchers, experts, representatives of international organizations, 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, Mr. 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.
Event highlights included panel discussions on the following topics:
Women’s leadership in family businesses: Distinguished panellists led by H.E. Dr Ebtesam Almazrouei, Executive Director and acting Chief AI Researcher for the Al-Cross Center Unit at the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) and H.E. 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.
Advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): This panel addressed the pivotal role of women in advancing SDGs as a critical pathway ahead of COP28. Prominent speakers, including H.E. Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), highlighted the importance of female contributions to sustainability.
Manufacturing and advanced industry: The contributions, 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.
The power of youth in sustainable innovation: An engaging discussion 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 recognize 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. This event is one of seven regional awards that celebrate remarkable women who innovate, inspire, and work to transform the technology sector.
The winners were:
1) ARTS AWARD POWERED BY AMAZON MUSIC
Recognizing a woman who has effectively integrated technology with the arts, utilizing innovative techniques or platforms to create groundbreaking artistic experiences.
The winner: SUMAYYAH AL SUWAIDI
2) ASPIRING TEEN AWARD
This category honors a young, up-and-coming talent in the tech field who demonstrates exceptional potential and passion for technology.
The winner is: NOOR MAZEN AL- SADAT
3) BEST ALLY AWARD
Celebrating an ally who actively supports and advocates for women in technology, fostering an inclusive and supportive environment.
The winner is: MELDA AKIN
4) WOMEN IN TECH® START-UP AWARD
Celebrating a female-founded or co-founded start-up that has demonstrated exceptional innovation, growth potential, and a positive impact in the tech industry.
The winner is: WAFA AL OBAIDAT
5) MOST IMPACTFUL INITIATIVE AWARD
Acknowledging an initiative or project that has had a remarkable impact in advancing diversity, equality, and inclusion in the tech sector.
The winner is: CONCAT
6) WOMAN IN WEB3 AWARD
This category highlights a woman who has made significant contributions and achievements in the emerging field of Web3 technologies such as blockchain, decentralized finance, and digital currencies.
The winner is: DINA SAM’AN
7) GLOBAL LEADERSHIP WOMEN IN TECH® AWARD
Honoring an exemplary female leader who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, driving transformative change and making a significant impact on a global scale.
The winner is: DR. EBTESAM ALMAZROUEI
8) WOMEN IN TECH® LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The highest accolade of the Women in Tech Global Awards, recognizing a woman who has dedicated her career to the tech industry and has consistently contributed to its advancement, leaving a lasting legacy.
The winner is: DR. MARIAM MOHAMED FATIMA MATAR
9) MOST DISRUPTIVE AWARD POWERED BY AWS
Recognizing the individual who has made the most significant impact by challenging the status quo and pushing boundaries within the tech industry.
The winner is: FATIMA ALKAABI