Official engagement group of the G20, Women20 (W20) organized a roundtable discussion on technology and how it empowers women.
The virtual meeting went over the Kingdom’s strategic plan to improve women’s lives and the current challenges and opportunities ahead. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the Saudi female panelists spoke about Saudi women’s positions vis a vis W20’s areas of interest such as financial inclusion, technical inclusion, entrepreneurship empowerment, and women’s participation in decision making.
With Al-Nahda Foundation presiding Saudi Arabia 2020 Women (W20), the third forum of the National Dialogues on Saudi Women was opened by W20 chair Dr. Thoraya Obaid.
“We managed to consolidate important relations and friendships with representatives of the G20 countries, but the most important thing for us is national dialogue, as we will complete our mission at the group by the end of this year and the only thing will remain is the national work,” Dr. Thoraya Obaid said, according to Arab News.
Becoming more present during COVID-19, technology gave the opportunity to both men & women to contribute and become producers of technical programs.
“Only 48 percent of women are adapted to technology,” said Deema Al-Yahya, innovation and e-commerce consultant and founder of Women Spark initiative.
“Women are users of technology rather than producers; 60 percent of Saudi women are using social media platforms without producing any digital content,” Al-Yahaya said. “We need to shift women’s role from a user to a producer. It is something several governmental entities are working on to give women productive opportunities, such as Monshaat.”
Al-Yahya added that highly qualified women also do not always have equal opportunities, especially in areas where there is not enough suitable opportunities.
“Established companies are outsourcing their services to other Arab countries while there are many talented women in the Kingdom,” she said. “However, with this crisis, and as many services shift online, these women can find better opportunities and they have to invest in them.”
Other issues women often face were also tackled like entrepreneurship opportunities, inclusion in work, labor rights, vacations, unpaid caring roles, and others.
“The COVID-19 crisis has brought with it huge potential entrepreneurship ideas which are mainly technological, you only need to find a problem that hasn’t been properly solved,” said Amal Dokhan, CEO Global Entrepreneurship Network GEN Saudi. “Women have an attention to details by intuition and this is exactly what is needed today.”
“We do not want women to limit their aspirations in entrepreneurship to specific sectors. There are many great opportunities available today for women, they only need to think out of the box,” she said. “There are endless untouched digital opportunities, especially the services that are targeting women.”