The Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF) held the 10th edition of the Young Arab Women Leaders conference series in London on ‘Women Led Innovation in STEM’, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, PwC and the World Bank, and with the support of PepsiCo and Shell.The conference was designed to promote the development of leadership skills and confidence in the next generation of young women leaders in STEM, and welcomed members, guests and delegates from over 40 different countries, including the US, UK, the EU and the Arab States
All conference programme sessions were aligned with the core priority policy areas of AIWF, the Royal Academy of Engineering, PwC, and the World Bank These core values are educating and empowering the next generation of STEM women leaders, women-led innovation and new solutions to the global energy, food, water, and climate change crises, women-led innovation in medical technologies and healthcare AI, supporting diversity, inclusion and innovation in energy, engineering, and infrastructure
And advancing gender diversity in tech entrepreneurship and the digital economy
Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, Founder & Chairman of the Arab International Women’s Forum, said: “AIWF clearly sees the advancement of opportunities for women in STEM as a national education priority not only in the UK but across the EU and in most MENA countries. Supporting women and young people to enter into STEM careers is critical not only to advancing innovation in the knowledge economy but to creating the decent jobs that are so desperately needed in the Arab world as well as elsewhere in the world. We see STEM jobs as the jobs of the future, and supporting women-led innovation in STEM could make a game-changing contribution to narrowing the gender pay gap whilst levelling the playing field in STEM for future generations."
Dr Hayaatun Sillem, Deputy CEO and Director of Strategy of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “The Royal Academy of Engineering is delighted to host the 10th Young Arab Women Leaders STEM conference in London in collaboration with the Arab International Women’s Forum, PwC and the World Bank.”
According to Dr Sillem, only 9% of UK engineers are women and 6% are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. Recent Royal Academy of Engineering research shows that both these groups experience the culture of engineering as less inclusive than white and male engineers do. For this reason, the Academy works collectively to address barriers faced by under-represented groups by bringing together employers, professional institutions and others through its Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Programme.
Hani Ashkar, Territory Senior Partner at PwC Middle East, which launched the Young Arab Women Leaders initiative with AIWF in 2011, said: “Women today already make up a third of our regional workforce and around 43 per cent of our graduate intake - we’re on the right track but there's more to do. We know that we’re only just getting started and are committed to keep investing in and targeting highly talented and ambitious young women from across the Middle East. As a founding partner of the Young Arab Women Leaders initiative, we are proud to support AIWF drive that same vision of creating more opportunities for our next generation of women leaders and drive gender diversity, top to bottom.”
The 2017 London conference followed successful events in Amman, Beirut and Dubai in 2012, Palestine in 2013, London in 2014, Doha in 2015, Kuwait City in 2016, and Fez, Morocco in early 2017. All conferences have been heavily subscribed to and attended by young women from across the MENA region and internationally. For each conference, AIWF and PwC have joined efforts to deliver a high-impact programme of sessions in a one-day, highly interactive format and in a supportive environment. Through the Young Arab Women Leaders initiative and indeed in all its work and programmes, AIWF is nurturing the next generation of young women and is committed to helping to empower them as they break new ground in business and in public life.
The Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF) is a non-profit development organisation that has members and contacts in more than 45 countries and links Arab business leaders with each other and their counterparts in the international community to exchange knowledge, experience and develop their business potential.
AIWF has been an agent for change for women in the Arab region encouraging their potential and has received international recognition in the Arab world and internationally as a powerful advocate for women in business and their empowerment. International conferences have been held in London, Paris, Dubai, Doha, Damascus, Washington DC, Madrid, Brussels, Sharjah, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Palestine, Kuwait and Morocco, examining strategies for job creation, inclusive sustainable growth, economic competitiveness, development of human capital, increased innovation and collaboration through public-private partnership.