Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Women of the Gulf showcase their achievements

As we prepare for the first event of the US-Saudi Women's Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, which will occur in Jeddah this spring, we are excited to hear about an exhibition being organized by the Jeddah-based Al-Eman Association. 

The First Gulf Women Exhibition will showcase the experiences and achievements of women around the Gulf in various fields.  There will be specialized sections on:  businesswomen, higher education, and health care.  

As we are all keenly aware, the image of women in the Gulf often includes words like: "oppressed" "uneducated" "sheltered".  This exhibition will show other women of the Gulf, and the rest of the world, that there are women doing incredible work all over the Gulf.  Women in business, health care, education, and finance are having positive impacts on their communities, while respecting and enhancing their traditional cultures.  

Additionally, the event will have a section for "housewives" where home-based businesses will be highlighted as a way to fight the issue of unemployment among women.  Jawhara Al-Anqri, head of the Al-Eman Association stated that this section was created "... because there are women in the Kingdom who have started their own business in order to fight the issue of unemployment."   
Events such as this one have the unique opportunity to shed light on the often overlooked achievements and advances being made by bright and motivated women throughout the Gulf region.

Clearly, the types of ideas that are necessary for successful Social Enterprise, already exist among women in the Gulf.  We hope that the US-Saudi Women's Forum on Social Entrepreneurship will be able to leverage this existing interest and activity, and highlight the various ways Social Enterprise could work in the Gulf- creating employment opportunities and improving local communities within the traditions and customs of the local culture. 

(photo courtesy of Lateefa's photostream) 

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