Inaugural Crunchmoms Summit In Dubai From October 12-13, 2022 Is Set To Spark More Discussions About Female Inclusivity In The Middle East
Set to host a sequence of panel discussions, masterclasses, and networking sessions, among other activities, the summit's official theme is "Working the Dream."
Crunchmoms, a Dubai-based platform focused on helping women in the Middle East navigate their careers as well as motherhood, is set to host its inaugural Crunchmoms Summit from October 12-13, 2022 at Dubai's East West Atelier, The Courtyard. Set to host a sequence of panel discussions, masterclasses, and networking sessions, among other activities, the summit -whose official theme is "Working the Dream"- has been designed with the hopes to foster more conversations surrounding the struggles of working women in the MENA region.
The inaugural event comes in the midst of the World Economic Forum's research showing that the Middle East currently only offers 21.7% female entrepreneurship and labor participation -one of the lowest rates in the world- despite a large majority (91.5% as per Global Female Leaders) of young females in the region possessing high levels of education. As per McKinsey's Women in Workplace report, the major contributors to this discrepancy include lack of access to funding and mentors, as well as management-related issues that reduce women's confidence in balancing both work and home.
Committed to ensuring future female-led growth and innovation in the Middle East, the Crunchmoms Summit hopes to encourage more honest discourses about these issues. "Many important conversations about work-life boundaries are happening in silos, and events like the Crunchmoms Summit aim to bring it all front and center, on a shared and public stage," Julie Nguyen, founder of Crunchmoms, says. "Any time inspiring people come together, there is always the opportunity to learn, get advice and collaborate on new ideas. It's why our community motto and theme for our inaugural summit is 'working the dream'. Open to everyone who believes in women-led potential, the summit shines a light on the conversations that matter but with the intention of actioning change."
Julie Nguyen, founder, Crunchmoms. Source: Crunchmoms
Over 30 speakers have already been confirmed for the Crunchmoms Summit- these include Sophie Smith, founder and CEO, Nabta Health and leader of the Female Angels Movement, Noha Hefny, CEO, People of Impact, Anne Edmondson, Chairwoman, Gulf4Good, Jessica Smith, paralympian and co-founder, TOUCH, Ben McCabe, founder, McCabe + Partners, and Hannah Curran, founder and CEO, PureBorn. To view the full list of speakers, click here.
On her part, Nguyen remains very clear on what she hopes to achieve by kickstarting more public conversations centered on women's issues. "Identifying and retaining top female talent is a key concern for organizations and investors across the board but, by working together, we believe there can be real, actionable solutions," Nguyen adds. "With Crunchmoms Summit 2022, we want to change the narrative from simply leveling the economic playing field to collaboratively building a brighter, inclusive future for all. We'd like to see several outcomes and goals at the end of the summit, including having companies pledge to do more to hire and retain female talent for high-value jobs in a positive environment, seeing more men and women sign up to be mentors, and have budding entrepreneurs finally take that leap towards launching their startups. We also plan to use key learnings from the summit to create a 'playbook' for boosting female empowerment in the region's workforce."
Now, while Nguyen is quick to admit that generalizing workplace behaviors across the MENA is not necessary or helpful to the cause at hand, she does believe there are certain management-related shortcomings that have repeatedly not been addressed. "Issues with schools and daycare, children falling ill, and other realities tend to fall squarely on the mom's shoulders, and line managers and corporate cultures aren't often empathetic," Nguyen says. "More and more women also have wish lists with flexible timings and remote work options, which helps them better juggle responsibilities at work and at home. While these have become more common since the pandemic, it's still not widely accepted across all industries and many organizations have reverted back to full office days. And the more senior the position, the more pressure there is to 'perform' – often leading women to break down and simply burn out."
A big part of these issues remains entrenched with yet another diversity-related occurrence, according to Nguyen. "There aren't enough senior-level female figures in organizations to advocate, push for change, and make decisions on behalf of the other working mothers," the founder explains. "It's the mentorship, career coaching and planning or helping others move up the corporate ladder, which is why communities like us really matter. Mothers are the ultimate multi-taskers, so companies are really missing a trick."
But while hurdles continue to exist, Nguyen urges female entrepreneurs to not let such factors deter them from chasing their dreams anyway. "Don't wait for the perfect time, conditions, or support system – perfection doesn't exist," she shares. "You'll learn along the way and grow at every step, which is what makes the entrepreneurship journey so exciting. There really is no secret formula to startup success, so do your research and trust your instincts when making every key decision. It's easy to get disheartened by setbacks but you often have to fail to succeed, and the lessons learned to ensure you'll always get up stronger (and faster) than before."
Set to run over two days, the Crunchmoms Summit 2022 has officially partnered with two Dubai-based entities: Dubai Business Women Council, a firm that aims to promote more opportunities for women and thus enable greater acceptance of females in the workplace, and Step Conference, a conference for emerging global tech startups, have been chosen as the summit's official partners. The first day of the Crunchmoms Summit, October 12, 2022, is the Morning Edition. Set to run from 9am to 2pm(UAE), the day's itinerary encompasses agendas centered on entrepreneurship and startups, and will include apanel sessions such as "The Greater Good: Building Mission-Driven Businesses" and "Agents of Change: Female Leaders on Challenging the Status Quo." The second day, October 13, 2022 -the Evening Edition- will run from 4pm to 9pm(UAE) and focus on topics related to career decisions and female inclusivity. Among the expected panel discussions topics for the day include "The Career Conundrum: Why it's Time to Redefine Success" as well as "Why it's Time to Stop Discussing Diversity and Act on Inclusion."
For more information and to buy tickets for the Crunchmoms Summit 2022, visit: crunchmoms.com/summit.