By: Nouran El Ashry
Egypt has taken a number of steps in the past few years toward increasing female participation in multiple industries.
Cairo International Model Arab League (CIMAL) invited four female Egyptian pioneers from diverse sectors to speak about their journeys on November 11 at Mary Cross Hall.
The four included Deputy CEO of Banque Misr Sahar El Damaty, actress Fatma Mazhar, Rapporteur of the National Council of Women (NCW) Sanaa Ismail and Deputy Rapporteur of the NCW Maha Marwan and were joined by AUC President Francis Ricciardone and Dean of Students George Marquis.
“One of our most important missions is to raise the awareness of the delegates as to the problems the Arab World faces,” CIMAL’s Secretary General Farah Kaddah told The Caravan.
“We don’t stop at that, we try to give them the tools to resolve these problems,” she added.
The talk was moderated by Ghada Sherif and began with an introductory speech by President Ricciardone.
He said that the speakers each excelled in a different field, from arts to finance to public and social service.
“The stories presented in the talk were impressive and I was proud of the gathering especially that it was a student initiative,” President Ricciardone told The Caravan.
The first speaker was El Damaty who talked about the importance of women’s role in the society.
“I fought my parents to get [into AUC] and I made it and today I am being rewarded at the same place,” she added.
El Damaty joined AUC as an undergraduate when she received her BA in Economics and later received her MBA from the same university before joining the Business department as a professor.
Mazhar talked about her career experience and that she worked in education, which she perceived to be a central women’s issue.
She also spoke about the challenges she faced in achieving her dream as her parents did not support her passion for acting which led them to cut off with her for some time.
Attallah noted that Egyptian women have had an impactful role in society for ages, focusing on both CIMAL and CIMUN as opportunities for providing the new generation with important skills.
Attallah said that women play an important role in raising children and building healthy families as they are essential to maintain healthy communities.
“I find the session really important to be given to youth as I believe that they are the future and I see the country’s hope in them,” Marwan told The Caravan.
Such talks are important because they present challenges and struggles of the Arab World beside giving people hope that change, though is definitely a slow process and full of challenges, is attainable, said Kaddah.
“It was another way to raise the delegates’ awareness to what really happens on the ground, away from the simulations and lectures.”