The US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) hosted Tuesday a webinar that focuses on the indispensable role played by women in the economic landscape of Qatar, which includes sports.
“Their participation has not only led to substantial economic growth but has simultaneously empowered women from all walks of life to take an active role in the advancement of their country’s prosperity, as well as their personal and professional goals,” said Sheikha Mayes bint Hamad al-Thani, managing director, USQBC Doha Office.
Titled ‘Women at the Forefront: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,’ Sheikha Mayes said the webinar was held in partnership with the Office of the Commercial Attache at the embassy of Qatar in the US, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, and the Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT).
The online discussion, which was moderated by WIIT board member Kelly Ann Shaw, featured Fatma al-Nuaimi, communications executive director at the SC, Bodour al-Meer, sustainability director at the SC, and Lana Khalaf, general manager, Microsoft Qatar.
“Their work has inspired many and will surely leave behind an outstanding legacy. The members of the panel have excelled in their fields and have contributed to advancing the country’s economic and sustainability initiatives,” Sheikha Mayes stressed.
She said the webinar celebrates the role of women in leadership positions who are tackling the professional and sporting worlds. According to Sheikha Mayes, the country has put a large emphasis on the effective participation of women in its labour force through Qatar National Vision 2030.
Sheikha Mayes said the Qatar Second National Development Strategy (2018-2022) “addresses how taking advantage of highly-educated Qatari women is central to the country’s transition to a knowledge-based economy.”
The government of Qatar has empowered women in the country through access to education, economic participation, and career opportunities supporting growth and development, she added.
“Qatar has a 59% female labour participation rate, which is above the global average and is the highest in the Arab world. In addition to actively promoting female participation in the workforce, Qatar has also made strides to combat climate change to reduce the carbon footprint of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“Qatar also made an effort towards promoting sustainability initiatives based on innovation and technology. This technology works with the design of the stadiums in mind, by making them more efficient and environment-friendly,” Sheikha Mayes added.
During the discussion, al-Nuaimi noted that with the expected 1.2mn tourists coming to Qatar for the tournament, the influx of visitors would benefit the country’s tourism industry.
“We’re working with a lot of stakeholders here to make sure that there is a lot of variety and many activities that people can do,” al-Nuaimi said, citing that Russia’s tourism industry flourished after it hosted the World Cup.
Al-Meer pointed out that Qatar has so many inspiring Qatari female leaders: “I strongly believe that Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser is a role model for most of us in Qatar. She is very intelligent, well-educated, and elegant. She plays a huge part in Qatar’s development and transformation.
“She is an encouragement for women to study, work, and take control of their lives. She also opened the door for Qatari females to handle leadership positions in the country.
“The World Cup has helped shed light to change the stereotypes about women in the Middle East. However, women in Qatar had already started to handle leadership positions way before we won the right to host the World Cup.”
Khalaf said Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is a “great” and “amazing” platform to showcase the different leadership skills and talents of women in Qatar and the Middle East.
“The participation of these women leaders is a clear image to the world and to everybody coming to Qatar that women are leading some of these critical initiatives and in sports,” she said.