Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC), an independent forum aimed at strengthening and promoting green building practices, has announced a major milestone to strengthen the contribution and leadership of women in the field of sustainability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the launch of the EmiratesGBC Women’s Network (EWN).
Launched virtually, EWN will serve as a platform for networking, mentoring, and knowledge-sharing for women across the MENA region, who are working in the field of green buildings and sustainable development, and are keen to participate in the sector.
It aims to increase engagement and support female sustainability professionals, thereby promoting inclusivity, diversity, and women leadership. It will organise networking events and meetings in the first year with planned growth to include a mentorship programme and competitions to upskill women.
His Excellency Ali Al Jassim, Chairman of EmiratesGBC, said: “At EmiratesGBC, we work towards building a strong platform for all to support governments and industry stakeholders in the MENA region with their long-term sustainability goals. EWN will serve as a great opportunity to the women to enhance their skills, network with senior leadership working at various organisations and learn more about sustainability and green buildings in the MENA region.”
EWN will leverage the current strengths of EmiratesGBC including its diverse network to support and encourage women in the field of green buildings. The platform will celebrate the achievements of women in the built environment across all levels including senior positions in public and private sector and non-governmental organisations in the UAE.
It will also share successes and learnings with wider region for further knowledge expansion. EWN will be chaired by Farah Yassine, Vice Chair and board member of EmiratesGBC and led by a steering committee to support its overall direction as well as future plans. The membership is open exclusively to corporate and individual EmiratesGBC members.
Farah Yassine said: “EWN is being launched to accelerate our progress in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Five – achieving gender equality and empowering women – especially in the sustainability sector, which plays a central role in supporting other SDGs such as affordable and clean energy for all. With several women already driving sustainable development programmes in the region, the network will support them to excel further through EmiratesGBC’s capacity building initiatives.”
The network will conduct various knowledge-sharing events on a quarterly basis which will also be showcased on EmiratesGBC communication platforms.
A webinar and a panel discussion were also held at the launch – issues such as challenges and opportunities for women in the building and construction sector and the importance of sustainability and gender equality were discussed.
Gurminder Sagoo, Client Director, WSP Middle East; Anwaar Al Shimmari, Chief Innovation Officer at Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure; Raka Roy, Senior Associate at Galadari Advocates & Legal Consultants; and Omnia Halawani, Director & Co-founder, GRFN were part of the panel.
The discussion highlighted the lack of female representation in the region’s construction and building sector, and how a change must be made at grassroot levels.