Youth empowerment and gender equality were put on focus in the fourth edition of the two-day Doha Women Forum held in person and online at the Westin Doha Hotel and Spa.

The forum saw attendance from diplomats, dignitaries, government representatives as well as prominent members of society.

The event, held this 27-28 September, followed the theme Challenging Gender Bias and Inequality, which is a call to resolve some of the pressing issues faced by women in the workplace and society. The event also highlighted the issue of gender inequality on a global scale and the necessary measures that governments and communities need to undertake to help resolve the disparity. This year, the forum also handed over the reins of organising and hosting the event to the ambitious and proactive youth of Qatar.

Doha Women Forum 5
Doha Women Forum round table discussion

Dr Amal Mohammed Al-Malki, founding dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Hamad bin Khalifa University was the key-note speaker. She spoke about the destructive role of social norms in patriarchal societies and how much needs to be done at an institutional level to ensure equal representation and equal participation of women.

The speakers this year included the Ambassador of Mexico to the State of Qatar HE Ambassador Graciela Gomez Garcia and Starlink CEO and Airlift Systems Co-Founder Munira Al Dosari. HE Ambassador Garcia spoke about the need for governments to define public policies for the empowerment of women and girls, while Al Dosari focused on the under-representation of women and what men can learn from their female counterparts.

Day 1

Day 1 featured a virtual panel discussion with global changemakers Dr Yvonne Thompson, founder of WinTrade Global Entrepreneur’s Network; Digital Citizens Fund CEO Roya Mahboob; ABAAD founder and director Ghida Anani; and Ooredoo assistant director (IoT) Fuencisla Merino.

The discussion, moderated by Qatar Sports Tech Managing Director Heba Al Masri, highlighted the initiatives undertaken by women leaders in their communities to bridge the gender gap.

Another roundtable discussion on the topic, Pandemic: A Catalyst for Progress? was also held on the first day of the forum, moderated by author and podcast host Layla Saad. The discussion turned on the economic and societal effect of the pandemic on women and how to move past it.

Day 2

Day 2 was entirely virtual and saw the participation of women from across the globe. Discussions focused on the youth, the future that they are capable of creating given the right opportunities, and how the world can work towards making that happen.

Change influencers Ghada Abdel Aziz, Natalie Magness and Salimatou Fatty were introduced in the first session, as young advocates driving positive change in their communities, challenging the norms, promoting youth engagement and participation.

The second day also featured motivating speeches from Voicing Voices founder Ayan Said and Istituto Di Moda Burgo (Qatar) principal and co-director Meenu Prasad.

Said stressed the importance of speaking up for women’s rights and letting women’s voices be heard. Prasad, meanwhile, spoke about body confidence and valuable fashion pointers. Interactive breakout sessions after both talks gave the attendees the opportunity to discuss their views and opinions in smaller and more intimate settings.

The highlight of the day was a panel discussion on the topic ‘The Youth in a Post-Pandemic World’ featuring youth leaders and representatives Girls Will Code co-presidents Sanya Chawla and Anya Chan; Ministry of Sports and Culture Youth Advisory Committee member Shaikha Ali Al-Marri; Future Compass Initiative founder and CEO Eman Al-Obaide; Qatar Academy Student Ali Fakhroo; and CMU-Q alumnae Abed Sherzai. The session was moderated by Qatar Youth Power Conference founder Natalie Magness.

Doha Women Forum Founder Conchita Ponce (left) with DIFI Executive Director Dr Sherifa Al Emadi
Doha Women Forum Founder Conchita Ponce (left) with the Ambassador of Mexico to the State of Qatar, HE Graciela Gomez García 

Looking forward to the next edition

According to Westin Doha Hotel and Spa Marketing and Communications Manager Christelle Bou Chebel Fares, they are delighted to be associated with Doha Women Forum yet again and are excited and looking forward to the next edition.

Doha Women Forum has been growing in leaps and bounds and this time, with international speakers, it has accessed a global network. It is also impressive to see the forum harness the talent of the youth and give them the opportunity to work on such a platform and to be mentored by experts.

Doha Women Forum was supported by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, La Difference PR Agency, the Westin Doha Hotel and Spa, Istituto di Moda Burgo Qatar, I Love Qatar, Marhaba Information Guide, WME Podcast, BioOil, MiceTribe, Bio Skin Spa and Ocean Medical Centre.

For more information about the event, visit dohawomenforum.com.


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