From March 4 to 9, female business leaders from around the globe convened in Cairo to participate in workshops on employment, international trade, technology, and finance at the Annual Women’s Economic Forum.
“The organization of the event, despite all obstacles and challenges taking place worldwide, has proven that women are able to do anything under any circumstances,” the Head of Egypt’s National Council for Women, Maya Morsi, remarked.
Organizers said the decision to host the conference in the MENA region for a second time reflects women’s ascendance in the region’s business community.
“I have met some really exceptional women in Egypt,” the founder of the Women Economic Forum, Harbeen Arora, told ABC News. “We would like the world and our global community to learn about them.”
Women’s empowerment has advanced significantly in Egypt since the 2011 revolution, thanks to ambitious entrepreneurs and support from the government. The country aims to improve women’s economic participation from 22.9% to 40% by 2030.
Entrepreneurship courses are now compulsory at Egyptian universities, and co-founder of online media company SuperMama and design start-up Coushies, Yasmine El-MeHairy, said it has made a huge difference in the country’s business environment.
“Back when I started [in 2011], we were paving the way for others,” El-MeHairy said. “I look around now and I’m surrounded by mentors and mentorship groups.”
Egyptian Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad told conference-goers that women play a vital role in “preserving and protecting the environment, especially in rural areas.”
She also used the opportunity to praise Egypt’s female lawmakers and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s support of women’s empowerment and gender equality initiatives.