(TechNation/ Kabul): Close to 200 women gathered at the first TechWomen Summit 2015 in Kabul to celebrate, promote and empower women in technology. This is a significant milestone for Afghanistan in its journey towards women’s empowerment, and in its role as a regional pioneer and stakeholder in the global technological revolution.
The summit, which took place on Thursday at Amani High School in Kabul, was a rare women-majority conclave that brought together scores of women from business, civil society, tech, academia and government onto a single platform. They were able to attend talks, share their tech products, network and discuss the crucial fusion of women and tech for the sustainable development, stability and prosperity of Afghanistan.
The keynote address was delivered by the First Lady of Afghanistan, Mrs. Bibi Gul Rula Ghani, who made several incisive observations, such as the fact that tech provides numerous opportunities for women’s empowerment through knowledge sharing, and can turn Afghanistan into an innovation-driven economy. Other eminent speakers included the Minister of Communications and IT, Abdul Razaq Vahidi and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Nasrin Oryakhil, who both delivered key insights pertinent to their respective sectors. Panelists for the thematic sessions in the afternoon consisted of leaders from various spheres and representatives from the international community.
The Summit was organized by TechNation, a Kabul-based technology and entrepreneurship support firm, TechWomen Afghanistan, a network of women in technology, in collaboration with the National ICT Alliance of Afghanistan and the British Embassy in Kabul. The media partners included Pajhwok Afghan News and Federation of Afghan Civil Societies. The event sponsors included iO Global Internet Services Provider.
The TechWomen Summit objectives were to: strengthen the network and solidarity of women working in tech; to inspire women, both students and homemakers, to take up careers in tech; identify way technology can help in empowering the Afghan women; lay the groundwork for future policy and programs that will enhance the participation of women in the tech sector; and encourage continued discourse and discussion on this topic. “TechWomen Summit is not only an event, but a platform for enhancing the livelihoods of Afghan women. With such a remarkable start, you have altered the image of Afghanistan,” said Omar Mansoor Ansari, President of TechNation, in his introductory speech.
The TechWomen Summit 2015 demonstrated that many in Afghanistan, which is often portrayed negatively in the international media, are committed to the progress of the nation by bringing together two key dimensions, that of technological advancement, and the advancement of women. The Summit has hopefully set the foundations for creating a vibrant and dynamic environment for technology and women in Afghanistan.
TechNation is a Kabul-based technology, consulting and entrepreneurship support company. It creates a community of dreamers and changemakers to harnesses technology for education, business and society. TechNation aims to develop Afghanistan as a technology-first nation.
About TechWomen Afghanistan:
TechWomen Afghanistan is a multi-stakeholder platform for women aimed at increasing women’s participation in technology, governance, civil society and business through the use of various technology disciplines. It is a women-led and women-focused program comprised of leading female executives, business owners, researchers, academics, software engineers, programmers, administrators and students in tech. TechWomen Afghanistan is an initiative by TechNation, the National ICT Alliance of Afghanistan (NICTAA), and Open Source Afghanistan.
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