Qatar’s women leaders take centre stage at Web Summit Qatar 2024

8 March 2024

Just a week before the world celebrated International Women’s Day, Web Summit Qatar 2024 showcased the nation’s rising prowess of women in the technology sector. Among the brightest stars were a group of trailblazing Qatari women who are shattering ceilings and preconceptions about women’s role in the country’s thriving tech sector.

Leading the charge was Mrs Fatma Al Baker, Executive Vice President of Infrastructure Services at QNB Group, who highlighted the vital contributions women are making to strategy, innovation and leadership in Qatar and beyond.

“Aspiring female leaders and young women, always invest in your education. You can achieve anything by learning and staying up to date with the latest industry trends. I listen to podcasts and go to masterclasses and sessions, just to keep myself involved in various subjects, whether it is music, film or whatever interests me. Secondly, accept challenges and then learn from setbacks. Seek mentorship by identifying mentors in your community, both male and female, who can offer guidance based on their experience. Be confident, say what you feel, say what you think and raise your voice,” she said.

Crossing over from athletics were Lulwa Al Marri and Mariam Farid, elite athletes representing Qatar’s national teams.

Farid praised the growing role of Qatari women in sports and the increasing number of female athletes across different sports. She said: “You have girls with titles. We are not just talking about competing at a national level, but also internationally, travelling the world to do what they love. We are here to be an example to the younger generation,” adding that she is proud to represent women in sports and champion positive change to stereotypical perceptions of women.

Echoing her remarks, Al Marri, triathlete and Qatar’s first female Ironman, said: “When I speak to young girls, I always say go ahead, take the first step toward your dreams and the community will be there to support you. It is your own limited beliefs that stand in your way. Surround yourself with like-minded people who share the same goals and passion because just by taking the first step, everything else will follow. Have the courage and dare to take that risk, it is worth it. Your dream is worth it. Do not lead a standard life only because you do not believe in yourself.”

Throughout its various panel discussions and speaking sessions, Web Summit Qatar 2024 witnessed an active presence of female Qatari leaders, shedding light on the support that Qatari women enjoy and the empowerment they receive across fields and domains toward their nation’s progress.

In a discussion session, Hayfa Al Abdulla, Innovation Director at Qatar Science & Technology Park underscored the importance of corporations keeping innovation at the core of their strategy by fostering a culture of innovation throughout the organisation, providing the right incentives and encouraging an innovative mindset in all employees.

Qatar’s entrepreneurial spirit was also embodied by Thuraya Al Mulla, CEO of Receipts, a first-of-its-kind platform that makes shopping more sustainable through smart receipts. Al Mulla praised the support and encouragement she received to pursue her vision.

She said: “My experience at Web Summit has been really engaging and interactive. We got to meet local and international investors. People were very interested in the product, as it is the first of its kind in Qatar and the market. The support and their trust in the product has been amazing.”

The powerful representation of Qatari women leaders at Web Summit Qatar 2024 underscores the nation’s commitment to empowering women as drivers of technological advancement and economic diversification, as part of the Third National Development Strategy 2024-2030.

Web Summit Qatar 2024, which took place between 26-29 February at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center, also saw significant participation of female entrepreneurs across Qatar, the Middle East and beyond. Over 30 percent of startups were women-founded. Likewise, total attendance of women was at 37 percent, with tickets to the Web Summit’s Women in Tech initiative reaching full capacity.

As Qatar pushes toward a knowledge-based economy, the rise of women like Mrs Al Baker, Farid, Al Marri, Al Mulla and Al Abdulla at the vanguard, along with hosting Web Summit for five years, signals an unstoppable force unleashing new waves of innovation, inclusion and progress.