In honour of Emirati Women’s Day Female Fusion Network hosts panel discussion with five distinguished Emirati women in business

26 August 2022, Dubai, UAE

In honour of Emirati Women’s day, Female Fusion, the most extensive network of women entrepreneurs with over 30,000 members, hosted a panel discussion with the theme “Inspiring Reality… Sustainable Future” featuring five distinguished Emirati female entrepreneurs and business women — Jouhayna Almheiri, Senior Air Traffic Control Officer, TEDx Motivational Speaker, Podcaster; Tahany Taher, co-founder of HAYAWIIA; Tala Badri,  founder and executive director of Centre for Musical Arts; Maitha Alawadi, Head of Production at New Media Academy and Fatima AlQubaisi, the first Emirati woman to graduate from Harvard Law School, and Futureneer, under the patronage of Her Excellency Ohood Al Roumi in the Ministry of Possibilities.

The discussion was moderated by the CEO and Founder of Female Fusion, Jennifer Blandos, an international speaker, business strategist, advisor to UN Women in the UAE, and a host of famous women-focused sessions at the Women’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The session, attended by more than 100 female business owners, shared panellists’ perspectives on entrepreneurship, the importance of support systems, the resilience needed in building successful businesses and careers, work-life balance, social impact initiatives, the UAE government’s range of initiatives to address gender inequality and empower female entrepreneurs, and the importance of giving back to society.

Jouhayna Almheiri, Senior Air Traffic Control Officer, Emirati TEDx Motivational Speaker, the youngest and second Emirati woman to ever complete Air Traffic Control Training at Area Control Center, Abu Dhabi commented: “Emirati Women’s Day is an occasion to commemorate the women who have contributed to the nation’s growth and development. Moreover, it offers a platform for Emirati women from distinct backgrounds to network, build relationships, and create opportunities to grow.” She also highlighted that lack of awareness is one reason fewer women excel in professions like hers.

Tahany Taher is the Co-founder of HAYAWIIA, a brand that is part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation and the Khalifa Fund having on board 45+ exclusive brands with over 1500+ high-quality food & beauty products. She highlighted: “Supporting SMEs and providing clean & quality products to the community at an affordable price is a key driver to a sustainable future for the world and for the UAE. As an Emirati woman, I ensure that the brands I partner with are doing their part for the environment and their local communities.”

Tala Badri, an entrepreneur for 16 years and the first and only Emirati woman with a degree in music and the Founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Musical Arts commenting on the initiative said, “Emirati Women’s Day is a true celebration of the achievements, progress and potential of the Emirati women in this country. I am so proud to be an Emirati woman who sets an example for future generations.”

The perspectives shared by Maitha Alawadi, a film personality and Head of Production at  New Media Academy, during the panel discussion, underlined the significance of creating opportunities for Emirati film aspirants in the industry and the potential of visual storytelling for social change. Maitha said: “As one of the few Emirati women filmmakers trying to carve my niche in the UAE’s film industry, I am keen on building a community for all women out there that will create opportunities for them to explore the different elements of filmmaking. My advice to all women is to also build your women tribe; they can inspire you and be your greatest support system.”

Fatima AlQubaisi, the first Emirati woman to graduate from Harvard Law School and Futureneer, under the patronage of Her Excellency Ohood Al Roumi in the Ministry of Possibilities commented: “I never knew there would be such positive change and support for women in my country and region during my lifetime. We are moving ahead at an unfathomable speed and I am excited to see what the future holds.”

Jennifer Blandos, CEO and Founder of Female Fusion said: “It was our vision to organize this event to commemorate Emirati Women’s Day. It’s so important that we create a platform and supportive community for Emirati women entrepreneurs to start, build, grow and scale their businesses. In the UAE, more than 50% of the SMEs are women-owned and contribute to about 20% of the GDP, yet they face challenges in establishing or expanding their businesses or finding investment. It is essential to initiate discussions like these to kickstart a conversation on the obstacles these women face and let them know that there is a supportive community of thousands of women that are here to hold their hands along the way. Our panellists, five remarkable Emirati women, and the attendees have been creating ripples by building thriving businesses and empowering women across the country.”

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