Yahoo!’s Business & Human Rights Program, and Yahoo! Maktoob, and in partnership with Vital Voices, hosted the first “Change Your World!” summit on women and social and digital media in Cairo on January 18.
The summit brought together women in leadership from across the Middle East and North Africa to showcase and share lessons learned on how women are using technology, the Internet and social media platforms to create positive change in the world.
Moderated by award winning journalist and human rights activist Mona Eltahawy, participants focused on how technology and media can amplify women’s voices and support women’s leadership in four specific areas: women’s economic empowerment, political leadership, journalism, and human rights and women’s rights. Attendees were also able to share experiences, collaborate on best practices and spark innovation.
Panelists and participants include:
Maria Al Masani, social media pioneer and founder of Yemen Rights Monitor;
Fida Ouri, deputy director of NISAA FM in the West Bank, one of the first all-women, non-political radio stations in the Arab world;
Shereen Allam, Egyptian entrepreneur, co-owner of Eco-tek and founder, Association for Women's Total Advancement and Development;
Lara Ayoub, Jordanian digital media pioneer and digital media director, Al Ghad and Al-Waseet
Dalia Ziada, Egyptian women’s rights activist and blogger who has been hailed by the international media as one of the most influential women in the world;
Lamees Dhaif, Bahraini journalist and human rights activist.
“Women across the Middle East and North Africa are using the Internet, technology and social media to learn, to lead, to inspire, to connect and to change the world. We are hosting this summit to shine the light on extraordinary women, to facilitate an ongoing exchange of ideas, and to identify areas where companies can use their technology and platforms to amplify women’s voices,” said Ebele Okobi, director of Yahoo!’s Business & Human Rights Program.
Summit sessions included, “Technology and Economic Empowerment,” “After the Revolution: E-lections and E-governance,” “Journalism, Women and the Internet” and “Safety Online for Women and Activists.” There was also a screening of excerpts from ‘Women, War & Peace,’ the documentary series that tells the stories of women in conflict zones around the globe, which included the award-winning documentary ‘Pray the Devil Back to Hell.’ The event concluded with a session entitled “What’s Next? Continuing the Conversation” – a facilitated workshop to elicit ideas for tools, platforms, technology and media to foster and promote entrepreneurship, political leadership, journalism and women’s rights.
Ahmed Nassef, Vice President and Managing Director, Yahoo! Maktoob, Middle East and North Africa, said, “Since Yahoo! acquired Maktoob two years ago, we have grown to become a trusted destination for many who come to us for news and information, and to connect with like-minded people on our forums. We are very proud to be hosting this event as an extension to our online platform, especially as we discuss a topic that is so relevant to our region and these times.”
Vital Voices president and CEO Alyse Nelson said, “At this time of exceptional change in the Middle East and North Africa, we have a unique opportunity to engage in a conversation on the power and possibility of women’s leadership. We are proud to partner with Yahoo! as we convene some of the region’s pioneering voices in social and digital media for this innovative event.”