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Empowering Women's Voices: Riyadh Event Celebrates Inspirational Narratives on International Women's Day

The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), in partnership with the United Nations, organized a gathering in Riyadh to honor the remarkable narratives of women in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8.

Alaa Abdulaal, the head of digital economy foresight at DCO, expressed her inspiration following the event, stating that hearing about the challenges and triumphs of other women, particularly in a field historically dominated by men, was empowering. She emphasized the importance of acknowledging and celebrating such stories to foster gender equality.

Titled “In Her Shoes: Inspirational Stories of Women Shaping the Future,” the event featured a panel discussion comprising accomplished female leaders from digital, economic, and diplomatic backgrounds. Among the panelists were Petra Menander, the Swedish ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Deemah Al-Yahya, the secretary-general of DCO; Nahid Hussein, the resident representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP); and Dr. Hajjar El-Haddaoui, the CEO of Circular Economy Co. and vice chair of the UN Global Compact.

Abdulaal reflected on the significance of having women represented in the digital sector, highlighting their pioneering efforts and the barriers they have overcome. She stressed the importance of role models and their ability to inspire others to pursue their goals.

In an interview, Abdulaal discussed DCO's mission to ensure equal opportunities for all in the digital economy, particularly focusing on empowering women through various initiatives. She mentioned the upcoming launch of a framework for women in ICT, a result of the digital space accelerator program. She emphasized collaboration with government, private sector, and international organizations to support women's growth in the digital sphere.

Regarding the empowerment of women in the ICT sector, Abdulaal underscored the need to provide opportunities and the necessary skills, as well as financial support through partnerships with financial institutions. She emphasized the collaborative efforts of both men and women in fostering gender equality and creating opportunities for female advancement in leadership roles.

During the event, Deemah Al-Yahya shared a story illustrating the impact of transitioning women entrepreneurs to online platforms, citing the example of a dentist in Rwanda who expanded her services and hired more female dentists after overcoming logistical challenges with the help of technology.

The Women’s Day event concluded with a Q&A session where participants shared their experiences and discussed the challenges they have faced and overcome in their professional and personal lives.

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