The event recognised the achievements of women in reaching the top of their fields in business and government and,in doing so, working towards a fairer and more equal working environment across the Middle East. Some of the awardees present at the awards ceremony included Mona Almoayyed, managing director of YK Almoayyed & Sons Bahrain, Marwa El Ayouti, CFO, Vodafone Egypt; Maitha Al Dossari, CEO, Emaar Retail UAE; Sana Khater, CFO, Waha Capital Lebanon; Randa Bessiso, founding director, Middle East, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester; Shaikha Al Maskari, chair, Al Maskari Holdings UAE and Amna BinHendi, deputy chair, Bin Hendi Group UAE.
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasim, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, UAE; Nemat (Minouche) Shafik – deputy governor, Bank of England from Egypt; Lubna S Olayan CEO Olayan Financing, Saudi Arabia and Raja Easa Al Gurg, managing director Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, UAE also feature on the Forbes list – `The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’.
Egypt continues to lead the pack, with 18 percent of entries overall across all three rankings, including Nashwa Al Ruwaini, CEO at Pyramedia. Al Ruwaini appeared on Qatari radio and TV before launching her own media company in 1998.
Egypt was closely followed by Lebanon and the UAE, both with 14 percent of the overall entries. These included Maitha Al Dossari, CEO of Emaar Retail, whose portfolio includes the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, KidZania, SEGA Republic, and Reel Cinemas. Also, Kawthar Makahlah, CEO of BCI Group, a leading supplier of wholesale beauty products with eight subsidiaries across the GCC and 260 employees.
Sixty percent of the most powerful businesswomen hold executive management positions, with another 24 percent having worked their way up to the top of their family business. For example Mona Almoayyed, managing director of YK Almoayyed & Sons and former head of the Bahrain Business Women’s Society, leads more than 2,000 people and represents over 300 brands.
Out of the outstanding top 100 line-up, over half are working in the banking, investment and finance and diversified sectors and there are 16 founders, including Maha Al Ghunaim of Kuwait, who co-founded Global Investment House in 1998, which went on to become the first Kuwaiti firm to list on the London Stock Exchange.
Khuloud Al Omian, editor-in-chief, Forbes Middle East, said: “The Middle East has still some way to go to reach true equality in the workplace. By celebrating the women that are smashing through the glass ceilings and paving the way for future generations, we are throwing our support wholeheartedly behind them and encouraging all women to strive for their goals and aspirations, no matter what they may be.”