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Aisha Alfardan and Raed Chehaib at the press conference yesterday.
BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: Qatari women entrepreneurs must come forward to become a “role model for others”, who are willing to make contribution to the process of transforming the country into a knowledge-based society, but they, due to tradition and culture, prefer to remain in “cages”, a senior official of Qatari Businesswomen’s Association (QBWA) said yesterday.
“Arab women, including Qataris, have immense leadership potential, they can play an equally important role in the process of nation-building by leading businesses and organisations. But tradition and culture keep them in cages. They are shy, they need role models to come forward,” Aisha Alfardan, Vice-Chairwoman of the QBWA told The Peninsula on the sidelines of a press conference.
Aisha was speaking at a press meeting to announce the fourth annual session of the Qatar International Businesswomen’s Forum (QIBWF) to be held here on November 11 and 12 at St Regis Hotel, after the major success of the previous three sessions in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
There are over 1,000 women entrepreneurs in Qatar, according to Aisha, but only 60 of them are members of the association as most of them, being shy, prefer to work without coming into limelight.
She added: “Due to our tradition and culture, many successful women entrepreneurs prefer to work without coming into public eyes, and I urged them to come forward for the inspiration of others.”
“We are out and working with men side by side to become a role model for others without breaking or compromising our religious and cultural tradition. We are no less Muslims.”
She added that QBWA organises workshops and training programmes to impart knowledge and facilitate women entrepreneurship. “Our door is open to all those willing to seek assistance in establishing a business.”
The two-day event with the theme “Arab Businesswomen as Change-Makers”, will discuss leadership potential and style, removing barriers preventing women from exercising leadership in business, growing and funding entrepreneurship and innovation among women, emotional intelligence in leadership and other related topics. The forum will be accompanied by the Qatar Businesswomen Award 2013 ceremony on the first day of the event.
The award has been offered since 2008 and aims at recognising and celebrating the contribution of business and professional women in Qatar, while inspiring future generations of women to achieve their full potential and maximise their contribution to the Qatari economy.
Present at the conference were Raed Chehaib, CEO of Interactive Business Network in Qatar, and a host of representatives of the Qatari, Gulf, Arab and international press and media.
The QIBWF is organised in cooperation with Interactive Business Network, and has become a major annual event in the Gulf and the Arab world; widely recognised for the relevance of its topics and discussions.