5 Inspiring UAE-Based Women Working In Technology
Some top examples to help aspiring IT and technology enthusiasts believe the sector is a place where they fit in.
From Radia Perlman, whose invention of the algorithm behind the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) was crucial in making today's Internet possible, to Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper, one of the first computer programmers to work on the Harvard Mark I, women have been shaping the world of IT and technology for a while. While Perlman’s work made an immense impact on the way networks self-organise, move data and put the core rules of Internet traffic in place, Hopper’s efforts lead to the development of COBOL, an early programming language, who have made waves. And there have been so many other amazing women like them, including Mary Wilkes, a former computer programmer and logic designer, titled as the first home computer user. She was mostly known for her work with the LINC computer, recognised by many as the world's first "personal computer."
Fast forward to today and focusing on the region, 40 percent of university students specialising in computer science and IT in the Middle East are women, according to the Arab Gulf State Institute. And the percentage is even higher in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where women represent 70-80 percent of computer science and IT students, compared to 15-20 perent in the United States.
“Girls are globally held off STEM following stereotypes according to which that’s not something women do. Gladly, there are numerous UAE-based women examples to prove the opposite,” Laura Tyrell, Head of PR at NordVPN, a leading global VPN service provider, said. “We need to talk more about such inspiring women to encourage the rest to break through the stereotypes and pursue tech careers.” She added inspiring UAE-based examples help to fight misconceptions about the tech industry and persuade women to be more resolute to pursue a career in STEM. So here are some of the women based in the UAE who are making waves today:
As Global Content Partnerships director for MEA and Turkey at Twitter, Kinda Ibrahim is now part of the regional leadership team. The go-getter with degrees from Harvard Business School and Stanford University Graduate School of Business co-led Twitter's entry into markets across the Middle East. Ibrahim, who grew up in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon before moving to Canada, has also worked for tech giants like Microsoft and Yahoo. She is passionate about the convergence of media and tech as well as tech startups.
As Co-Founder of Women In Tech Dubai, a professional group that is focused on creating a safe space and community for women working in tech, Ming Hu seeks to create an educational and supportive community for women in STEM professions. She is also a Senior Fullstack Engineer at Tradeling, a technology startup with a vision to become the preferred B2B eMarketplace in MENA. Hu, who has several years of software engineering experience using various technologies including Node.JS, PHP, Python, C++ and shell scripting, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at NYU Abu Dhabi.
Ambareen Musa is the CEO of Souqalmal.com, the first regional online comparison site for financial and non-financial consumer products. Before founding it in 2012, Musa, who is originally from Mauritius, set up the consulting arm of MasterCard Middle East and Africa. Holder of an undergraduate business degree from RMIT university in Melbourne and an MBA from INSEAD, Musa is listed among the top 50 most influential women in the Arab world by “Arabian Business.” Besides that, she is the winner of the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by “The Entrepreneur” Magazine and Emirates Women Award by the government of Dubai.
Mona Ataya, the CEO and founder of Mumzworld.com has proven to be one of the Middle East's most prominent female entrepreneurs. Ataya, who graduated with a dual honors degree in Marketing and Finance, created a gold standard online marketplace for all the things a mother, baby and child might need. Before launching the first enterprise of its kind in the Middle Eastern region, Ataya, who has earned countless awards, was the VP of Marketing at Bayt.com, the successful online search engine for jobs in the Middle East, which she co-founded. She also has a track record of impressive and diverse international experience building global brands, including those with Procter & Gamble and Johnson and Johnson.
Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr
Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr is former General Director of the Smart Dubai Office, the government entity aiming to revolutionise a city through four pillars: efficient, seamless, safe and personalised. As well as being part of Dubai’s city-wide smart transformation, Bin Bishr is also the Chairperson of the Dubai Future Council for Digital Transactions, SDG 11 Global Council and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Councils. Recognised globally, she has received numerous accolades and holds a PhD in Management, Science, Technology and Innovation and an MPhil in Policy and Research on Engineering, Science and Technology from The Manchester Business School. She is also a graduate of the ‘Young Leaders’ programme organised by the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development.