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ArabNet Riyadh Hosts the Highest Number of Women Speakers Among All Its Events

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  • ArabNet Riyadh Hosts the Highest Number of Women Speakers Among All Its Events

    By ArabNet

    According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 Women’s Report, in 2012, an estimated 126 million women were starting or running new businesses in 67 economies around the world. In addition, an estimated 98 million were already running established businesses.


    Furthermore, a projected 48 million female entrepreneurs and 64 million female business owners currently employ one or more people in their businesses. Additionally, a predicted seven million female entrepreneurs and five million female established business owners plan to grow their businesses by at least six employees over the next five years.


    While these number are encouraging, the gap between the sexes is still very pronounced in specific segments of the economy. In tech for example, there are fewer women than there are men. Among the internet entrepreneurs across the world, only 10% are women. The inequality is also apparent in science and in entrepreneurship in general. Not only is the number of professional women smaller, but so is their salary.


    Women Make Up Majority of Workforce, Dominate Social, but Lag in Tech

    In the US for example, although women make up the majority of the workplace and are the driving force behind the social media sphere, they are underrepresented in the tech world.


    56% of individuals holding professional jobs in the states are women. But when it comes to tech, the ratio drops significantly. Only 28% of proprietary software jobs are held by women, and only 25% of jobs in IT overall. Of the executives at Fortune 500 companies, 11% are women. Tech startups owned by women? a meager 5%.


    Concerning social networks, 55% of Twitter and Facebook users are women. When it comes to gaming, social gaming in particular, women occupy the majority: 60% of social gaming players are female, the average social gamer is a 43 year old woman.


    At colleges, more and more women are leaning towards the tech and IT fields. But the gap is still large: women earn only 28% of B.S. degrees in Computer Science, and just 16.5% go on to get their PhD. The problem however is not limited to in education. Hostile environments and discriminant hiring are the prime reasons behind the discrepancy. Another disturbing stat that points to the deep seated bias shows that while 40% of women believe that companies do not spend the right amount of time to address diversity, 82% of men do.


    What are we missing?

    But consider the following facts: Women now hold more bachelor and graduate degrees than men. Fortune 500 companies that had at least three women directors saw an average return on equity increase by at least 53%. Return on sales increase by at least 42%. Return on invested capital increase by at least 66%. Golden Seeds, which supports women led startups is the fourth largest angel investment group in the US.


    Springboard, an expert network of innovators, investors and influencers who are dedicated to building high-growth technology-oriented companies led by women, represent a portfolio of 400 women led companies that raised more than $5 billion in equity financing, including ten IPOs. 80% of springboard companies are still in business, generate $4 billion in revenues, and have created tens of thousands of new jobs.


    In fact women are starting businesses at 1.5 times the national average. On average, these women entrepreneurs begin with one eighth of the funding of male owned ventures. Whereas women operated, venture backed companies have 12% higher revenues than those operated by men.


    Roles are reversed in the ME

    In the Middle East, the workforce is dominated by men. But for online, whereas women represent 10% of internet entrepreneurs across the world, the share of women is said to average 35% regionally.


    Social media helps women connect with the market. Crowdfunding platforms fill traditional gaps in financing. The technology also allows them to work from home, making it easier to balance their personal and professional lives, and avoid some cultural hurdles. for instance has loaned money to 7,000 women entrepreneurs in the Middle East since the beginning of 2011, for a total of $9 million.


    ArabNet Riyadh Highlights

    In this regard, ArabNet Riyadh brings to stage the top successful women in the digital sector in the region. This year, women make up almost 20% of all speakers - the highest percentage thus far among all ArabNet's previous events. 


    ArabNet Riyadh will have a panel dedicated to women in technology, entitled “Women Content and Forums”, that will tackle one of the hottest sectors in the digital media business: online Arabic content for women. Moderated by Lateefa Alwaalan, Founding Member at CellA+ Network & Founder of Yatooq, the panel will include:

    • Shahd Attar, Advanced Services Manager, Cisco
    • Sana Odeh, Faculty Liaison for Global Programs of Computer Science, NYU - AD
    • Esra Assery, Co-founder and CEO, eTree
    • Maha Taher, Partner, Media77.


    Bulletin-style forums are major players in this space, and are launching new products for tablets and smartphones. The region’s long-standing women’s magazines are also investing in digital and creating offerings for mobile. This session explores what’s popular in women’s content and how it’s being monetized.  It will also examines what makes Forums compelling for users, how Forums are moderated and how brands can engage their communities online.


    Additionally, the event will also include a panel dedicated to one of the fastest growing social platforms today: Instagram. The panel includes leading female executives such as:

    • Soaad Mohammad, Founder, Asrar Food
    • May AlJaser, CEO,Alyamamah Gelateria
    • Jameela Mohammed Ahmed, Founder, Yummy Cakes
    • Foz AlKhalyawi, Founder, My Recipes Cooks2012.


    In Saudi Arabia and the GCC, Instagram has emerged as a mobile commerce channel, with popular stores often run by ladies from home, reaching tens and hundreds of thousands of followers. This session will explore the trend of Instagram e-commerce and its potential to grow into a significant part of the Arab e-commerce industry.


    The event is set to take place on the 3rd and 4th of December.

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