Sitting in my hotel room in Jeddah, trying to resist the lure of waffles with strawberries. Found this article in Gulf Business magazine:

Behind the Veil
To the average observer in the West, women in the Middle East are a repressed gender, confined to their homes by the ‘conservative’ male. The truth is a bit different. There has been a dramatic shift in Arab attitudes over the past decade, with women in the Middle East now charging up the corporate ladder and finding success on their own terms.

The article then goes on to talk about women entrepreneurs in the region, and interviews HRH Princess Mashael bint Faisal from Saudi Arabia (President of the Board of Business Women Forum in the Eastern Province). She makes it clear that when women are discounted from societies and government, they fail to deliver.

I pinged onto the question put to Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, Chairman of Arab International Women’s Forum, and her answer:

Even in the Forbes list of the most influential women in the world, there are only a handful of women CEOs. What could be the reason for that?

The problem of gender inequality is not confined to the Arab world. Women are by no means globally empowered, and the issues and challenges faced by Arab women must not be misrepresented or misconstrued, but, should be viewed pragmatically and in context with the issues and challenges faced by women the world over. The empowerment of women is truly a global issue which must be taken very seriously by civil society, the private sector, and most importantly, by women themselves. Without detracting from the successes of these individual women, there is still much to be done.

Notice how the actual question What could be the reason for that? is not answered?

Got to go. Waffles have arrived. 😛