Wael Sawan, Qatar Shell’s Executive Vice-President, addressed the distinguished guests in a welcoming speech at the opening ceremony of the third Qatar International Businesswomen Forum of which Shell is a Platinum Sponsor.
“I am personally encouraged by the progress that women have made in our Arab society. The MENA region has moved in the right direction to remove cultural constraints to gender equality through education, entrepreneurship and political empowerment,” said Wael Sawan.
“We recognize that the Oil and Gas industry is not always seen as a welcoming place for women. Within Qatar Shell, we are proactively addressing the diversity challenges and gaps for women staff members by introducing several initiatives such as the ‘Working Across Cultures’ programme, the Qatar Shell Women’s Network, and the ‘Women’s Career Development’ programme,” added Sawan.
The forum’s aim is to open new horizons for Arab businesswomen by empowering them to take up leadership roles in the economic arena and aligns perfectly with the vision of the State of Qatar to empower women to promote social and economic development. Women from different backgrounds and professions discussed the challenges facing women in professional life and shared many success stories.
Clare Harris, Qatar Shell’s Vice President of Gas Development, delivered a presentation at the “Is ‘Having it All Possible for Women?” session, to address whether businesswomen can have it all by combining career, marriage, children, success and happiness. She shared her personal experience in Shell, and how she is managing a successful career in the Oil and Gas Industry and acting as a role model for the young Arab Women in the organization, and what she is doing to balance between career and being a mother.
Qatar Shell plays an important role in enhancing the skills of Qatari women through its Qatarization program that aims to identify and develop Qatari talents to become the leaders of current and future Shell operations. Through the Qatar Shell Women’s Network the company is committed to developing a more gender diverse and inclusive workplace by building a strong support network to empower its members to develop themselves.
Mr. Sawan ended his speech on a high note by expressing his personal commitment to lead by example and do more to empower women by saying: ‘By making my expectations clear, I hope that we will move Shell forward in the right direction – and at a faster speed. By doing so, we align our behaviours with our professed values,” concluded Sawan.
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