Paris, France: Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, President of American University of Sharjah (AUS) and of Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park), has urged tech firms and governments to include women in policymaking to maximize the benefits of frontier technologies and limit their dangers.

Speaking at the second Women in Tech Global Summit, in Paris, Sheikha Bodour said offering leadership opportunities to women and integrating their perspectives in decision- and policymaking would usher in a better technology roadmap for society.

The publishing entrepreneur and philanthropist, who’s a committed advocate of workplace equality, is particularly concerned by the underrepresentation of women in the technology sector.

She was addressing more than 400 international delegates from business, government, civil society, and the arts at the annual Summit, which aims to catalyse action on creating a more inclusive, sustainable, and innovative STEM ecosystem.

‘Things need to change and change fast. We need to take the reins,’ Sheikha Bodour said. ‘When you consider that even today, government decision making, policy frameworks and regulatory parameters are still dominated by men, we need a call to action.’

Sheikha Bodour shared UN Women data showing that women remain severely underrepresented at all levels of decision making and across political life in general.

Female voices matter more than ever

‘According to UNESCO, 57 percent of STEM graduates in the Arab world are women with this number rising to 61 percent in my country, the UAE,’ Al Qasimi said.

She described women as creators of social fabric who, if empowered to be more influential in decision-making, would deliver policies that unlock the benefits of new technologies while managing their potential harms to communities.

‘As we sit at the crossroads of the very future of humanity as it relates to technology, female influence, and voice matter more than ever. Today we need to ensure that gender parity is guaranteed and not just a target,’ she stressed, pledging her own full commitment to the vision.