Qatar Shell’s Executive Vice-President Wael Sawan delivered welcome address at the opening ceremony of the third Qatar International Businesswomen Forum in Doha yesterday. Shell is a platinum sponsor of the key event. “I am personally encouraged by the progress that women have made in the Arab society. The Mena region has moved in the right direction to remove cultural constraints to gender equality through education, entrepreneurship and political empowerment. “We recognise that the oil and gas industry is not always seen as a welcoming place for women. Within Qatar Shell, we are proactively addressing the diversity challenges and gaps for women staff members by introducing several initiatives such as the ‘Working Across Cultures’ programme, the Qatar Shell Women’s Network, and the Women’s Career Development programme,” added Sawan. The forum’s aim is to open new horizons for Arab businesswomen by empowering them to take up leadership roles in the economic arena and aligns perfectly with the vision of Qatar to empower women to promote social and economic development. Women from different backgrounds and professions discussed the challenges facing women in professional life and shared many success stories. Qatar Shell’s vice president (Gas Development) Clare Harris, delivered a presentation at the session entitled “Is having it all possible for women?” to address whether businesswomen can have it all by combining career, marriage, children, success and happiness. She shared her personal experience in Shell, and how she is managing a successful career in the oil and gas Industry and acting as a role model for the young Arab women in the organisation, and what she is doing to balance between career and being a mother. Qatar Shell said it was playing an important role in enhancing the skills of Qatari women through its Qatarisation programme that aims to identify and develop Qatari talents to become the leaders of current and future Shell operations. Through the Qatar Shell Women’s Network the company is committed to developing a more gender diverse and inclusive workplace by building a strong support network to empower its members to develop themselves.