VAE News

AHK Business Women Forum: Work together, break the glass ceiling


Women need to remove all the barriers and influence the business world for a better tomorrow by working together.

This was echoed by women speakers at the AHK Business Women Forum, which was held under the Patronage of Her Excellency Hafsa Al Ulama, UAE Ambassador to Germany, at Expo 2020 Dubai.

In her message, H.E. Hafsa Al Ulama, said, “These are exceptional moments for women in the UAE as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. In the UAE, women and men are equal partners in society. Gender equality is of paramount importance, and the Constitution guarantees equal rights for men and women.”

Women in the UAE are very active in business and are continuing to leave a remarkable legacy, according to Forbes 100 Most Powerful Arab Business Woman in 2020. The UAE was represented by 23 Emirati women on the list.

Addressing the forum, she said, “The UAE success in empowering women has been impressive and inspiring, and I am honoured to be in this important forum. The UAE’s track record of empowering women is a story to be told globally and an example to be followed around the world.”

“We can’t do without the potential offered by women as we shape our future,” emphasized Claudia Dörr-Voß, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. “To ensure that female talent is not wasted, we need female role models as positive examples of successful women. Furthermore, we need to work together on removing all the barriers in the way of our female talent, including funding instruments like venture capital. And it is important for women to network with one another and to make the business community more female.”

Welcoming the audience, Sabine Krafzel-Khourdaji, Chairwoman AHK Business Women Forum, said, “The world of today is facing enormous challenges, too many of them “manmade”. The time is ripe for “Women Change Makers”. They are needed more than ever for their natural talent of team play and social consciousness. The world of today needs to change. All of us need to work together, respectfully at eye level – for the benefit of the generations to come.”

Heena Nazir, Director of Germany Trade & Invest GmbH (GTAI), Dubai, talked about business opportunities and specific initiatives for businesswomen in Germany. Germany is one of the safest investment locations worldwide, and its economic activity is picking up again after the corona pandemic, and a substantial increase in GDP growth is expected this year.

The forum also witnessed a fireside chat with Ghinwa Baradhi, Chief Information Officer MENAT at HSBC and Fatema Al Afeefi, Country Head of HR UAE at HSBC, two excellent examples of female leaders. Both Ghinwa and Fatema champion female leadership across two very different areas in HSBC – HR and Technology – by supporting initiatives that provide practical guidance to upcoming women leaders.

Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF, and Bohdana Tamas, former co-founder and chief financial officer of Vy Capital, both true change-makers and inspiring role models, shared their personal and professional journey. Laila Mostafa Abdullatif stated, “I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be actively involved in protecting the planet – I’ve always loved being out in nature, both in the wilderness of Germany and the deserts, wadis and most of all seas in the UAE.” She emphasized the importance of a vital connection between nature and humanity. Bohdana Tamas, in her speech, reflected, “This is the right time to look deeper at what we understand under happiness and how we can create it on an individual and collective level.”

Founded in January 2021 by the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK), the AHK Business Women Forum is a distinctive networking platform for businesswomen and female professionals. It aims to support women starting from career growth, business support and meeting like-minded people. The forum organizes business events, workshops and networking get-together regularly highlighting the critical topics of women empowerment, female leadership, diversity and gender gap.

The UAE and Germany enjoy strong long-term relations, and both countries have the same goal of women empowerment. There is no better example of the most powerful woman in the world, Angela Merkel, as the first female Chancellor of Germany, she served the country for 16 years. In the UAE, the Constitution also guarantees equal rights for women and men and women make up 50 per cent of the UAE’s Federal National Council.

Many thanks to the Gold Sponsor of the event: