Dubai: As the world slowly returns to normal and gatherings are acceptable, Cambridge IFA, a UK-based financial intelligence house, held the 7th Islamic Retail Banking Awards (IRBA) 2021 and its 3rd WOMANi Awards ceremony in a glamorous evening in the vibrant city of Dubai, UAE.

The WOMANi Programme was formally launched by Cambridge IFA in 2018 for the sole purpose of empowering women and celebrating their outstanding achievements. The WOMANi Programme aims at empowering at least one million women at different levels in different regions across a range of professions. Every woman is a WOMANi; a story of hard work, dedication, multi-tasking, professionalism, perseverance and success.

WOMANi’s Patron-in-Chief, Stella Cox CBE, Managing Director of DDCAP GroupTM topped the WOMANi list for two consecutive years (2017 & 2018). Her contributions to the development of IBF world over are numerous, both professionally and on the advocacy front. Having worked within the Islamic financial marketplace for more than three decades, she has played a pivotal role in Islamic liquidity management and in championing IBF within the industry and beyond.

Stella Cox continues to support education initiatives in IBF. She is a member of the University of East London’s Islamic Finance and Banking Advisory Board and a visiting lecturer at Durham University’s Islamic Finance Summer School Programme. Her strong support towards and involvement in Cambridge Islamic Finance Leadership Programme demonstrates her commitment to developing the next generation of leaders in IBF.

Her Excellency Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Finance Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, topped the list this year, followed by Professor Dr Normah Omar who topped the 2020 list and the winner of the WOMANi Award for the last year. Dr Indrawati is known for her contribution to economic policymaking in her country. She has also been a great champion of Islamic finance, as during her tenure Indonesia emerged as one of the most important issuers of sovereign sukuk of various types. The Green Sukuk programme under her stewardship is considered a global benchmark for issuing responsible instruments in the capital markets. She is certainly a role model not only for millions of women in Indonesia but also elsewhere around the world. She is deservedly the proud recipient of the WOMANi Award 2021.

Sayyida Dr Rawan Ahmed Al Said, Chief Executive Officer of Takaful Oman SAOG and an inspiration to all women in Oman and world over, is on the WOMANi Top 10 List. Sayyida Dr Rawan remains the first and only woman CEO of a public-listed company in Oman and has rightly been named as WOMANi Oman 2021.

Dr Irum Saba has undoubtedly emerged as the most influential woman in Islamic business and finance in her native country, Pakistan. She is an Associate Professor & Program Director, Department of Finance at IBA-Karachi, on deputation from the State Bank of Pakistan. For her unrelenting efforts for the development of this industry, she has been awarded the prestigious title of WOMANi Pakistan 2021.

Eman Al-Binghadeer is Head of Internal Shari’a Audit at Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB). She is as such the first female Shari’a auditor in the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Gulf region as well as the first female head, leading the way for aspiring Arab women who wish to have successful careers in Shari’a advisory and structuring. She is leading change and empowering women in Bahrain and has earned the prestigious title of WOMANi Bahrain 2021.

Luisa Evaristo, Chief Risk Officer of Etiqa Insurance and Takaful is on the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Islamic Business and Finance list. Her efforts in advocating and developing the Takaful risk management were marked with the creation of a dedicated Shari’a Risk unit. She has deservedly been named as the WOMANi Portugal for the year 2021.

Manal Adnan Saad Al Rubaian, Deputy General Manager - Internal Audit Department has been ranked in the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Islamic Business and Finance list. She is the most influential woman in this list from her country and has been named as WOMANi Kuwait 2021. Haifa AbdulAli Al Lawati heads the Human Resource Department at Bank Nizwa, with 25 years of experience. She has been recognised as one of the Top 10 Most Influential Women in Islamic Business and Finance.

Other influential women on the Top 300 Most Influential Women in Islamic Business and Finance list included; Muna Alamoodi, Specialist Digital Channel, ADCB Islamic Banking; Rabab Aljaberi. Account Service, ADCB Islamic Banking; Ahlam Samara, Senior Vice President - Human Resources, Noor Takaful; Gazala Parveen, Head Cross Sell & Acquisition, Telesales, ADCB Islamic Banking; Samah Al Adra, Medical Claims Lead Nasco Insurance Brokers – UAE; Eman Othman Al Fares, Regional Manager – Excellency, ADCB Islamic Banking; Noora Hassan Al Ali, Wholesale Banking Governance, ADCB Islamic Banking; Jihad Al Balushi, Senior Manager- Corporate; Amna Rafiq Mughal, Assistant Product Manager, Bank Alfalah Islami; Mahmuda Sultana, Senior Vice President, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited; Wisam Al Said, Head of Marketing & Communications, Bank Nizwa; Amal Said Al Juma, Chief Manager Wealth Management, Bank Nizwa; Farah Mounir, Product Manager; Ekhlass Mohamed, Area Manager - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank; Zaineb Sefiani, Founder & Director of Carraera Learning; Maya Marissa Malek, Chief Executive Officer, Amanie Advisors Global Office; Dr Wajeeha Hussain Awadh, Chief Digital Officer at Al Baraka Banking Group; Dr Nerma Saračević, Startup Finance Mentor; and Suad Al Balushi, Head of Global Markets Division at Bank Nizwa.

The 3rd WOMANi Awards were a well-attended event with women participating from all corners of the world. This event was a glimmer of hope in a world struck with restrictions and lockdowns. We hope that by the next edition of the WOMANi Awards we have more ease of travel and greater participation from around the world.

About Cambridge IFA:
Cambridge IFA is a financial services intelligence house that specialises in developing and utilising powerful cutting-edge analytical tools to evaluate business data, assess macroeconomic indicators and understand market trends, leadership positioning and brand development relevant to the development of the financial services industry globally. The principal activity of Cambridge IFA is developing performance indicators specific to alternative practices of banking and finance.

It also aims to provide strategic advice to governments, financial institutions and multilateral organisations in the development of financial markets including alternative banking and finance products, procedures, practices and policies. Through our strong and invaluable relations with policy-makers and private sector industries, we have insights into market and business trends as well as policy changes. This allows us to identify and prioritise common issues and provide perspectives and solutions that are practical, focused and effective; which will increase the competitive advantage of our clients.

Cambridge IFA is a member of HD-Edbiz Group of Companies with offices in London, Gibraltar and Islamabad. 

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