The first MENA Women’s Congress is currently underway in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, gathering high profile delegates from around the MENA region to discuss the empowerment of women through coding capabilities.
Organised by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates – Madayn and in cooperation with the US-based CTEK Foundation, the congress aims to support women in the region. “The topic of the congress supports women through shaping coding related programmes that shall allow them to learn coding skills and thus create their businesses,” explains Malak Al Shaibani, the Director General of Marketing and Media at Madayn.
The congress also includes sessions that frame the relevant problems and solutions, identify barriers, stakeholders, as well as the next steps that will follow the congress. The event also highlighted the outcomes of the coding pilot programme, a week long coding program that taught women how to code and form online businesses. The programme was launched by Madayn, represented by the National Business Centre, and took place from October 8 – 13 at the Knowledge Oasis Muscat.
By the end of the programme, participants were able to build simple websites. ”The training programme that was held in line with this Congress aimed at equipping participants with coding skills and empowering them to create their own ‘business pod’ in their community and teach them to find clients and build their business globally,” commented Lu Cordova, Chairwoman of CTEK
Speaking at the event, Her Excellency Dr. Madiha bint Ahmed Al Shaibaniyah, Minister of Education, stressed the importance of gender equality and inclusion, which she defined as empowerment through the right of education for all citizens, including women, children and people with disabilities and special needs, to the economic prosperity of the nation.
“The National Strategy for Education emphasises technology and innovation in line with Oman 2040. In fact, the Ministry of Education realises the importance of responsiveness to the changes taking place in today’s world and continues to promote empowerment of both male and female students to help attain the goals the government aspire to achieve,” she said.
Al Shaibaniyah also pointed out that the number of students in 2019/2020 academic year has touched 759,307, about 50% of whom are females.
Also present at the event is Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), a company that delivers the majority of the country's crude oil production and natural gas supply, as a strategic sponsor of the congress.
“The theme of empowering Omani women through coding capabilities is well chosen as the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds apace,” explained Faiza Rahmatullah, New Business Development Manager at PDO. “It is vital that all countries across the MENA region have digitally savvy workforces and businesses, and software development skills are fundamental building blocks in any successful, modern and competitive economy. But more than that, such skills also give women a far greater chance of making a bigger impact in their careers, whether it be as entrepreneurs launching online start-ups or as valued IT professionals helping to drive greater efficiency and agility in companies in the oil and gas, banking, technology, science and education sectors, to name but a few,” she concluded.
The event kicked off on October 14 and will conclude on October 16. For more information, follow this link.