On the International Women's Day, Sweden affirms its commitment to boost cooperation with Egypt in technology fields and women's empowerment
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Embassy of Sweden in Cairo hosted a two-day technology event called “Tekla” on March 8 & 9, aiming to engage more young Egyptian girls in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The event was organized in cooperation with the Swedish Institute and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Ericsson and Tradeline Egypt (Authorized Apple reseller to the Egyptian market).
The first day of the event included an interactive technology workshop for 27 Egyptian girls (12 to 15 years old) from Degla Valley Language School, in which they were able to explore coding and different ways of using sensors and lasers to control colors and light. The result was an inspiring artwork that mixes technology and colors.
In addition, Ericsson delivered a workshop to the students about Artificial Intelligence and innovation to encourage the girls to learn more about Information and Telecommunications Technology (ICT).
On the second day of Tekla, a panel discussion where various experts from the business and public sectors along with renowned academics addressed the problem of underrepresentation of women and girls in technology and discussed possible ways of increasing their engagement in STEM related education and careers.
The panel included Noha Khater the CEO and founder of Al Mouneer, Egypt’s first Diabetic Eye Care Centre, Waleed El-Ramly, the Head of Business at Wuzzuf, Randa El Sawi, News and Media Director of Ericsson Middle East and North Africa and Sherif Al Kassas, Science and Engineering professor at The American University in Cairo.
The panel also included Yasmin Moustafa, a 22-year old Egyptian environmental engineering scientist who won the 2015 International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for her earth and environmental sciences project. In 2016 her name was given to an asteroid discovered by NASA.
“I am very glad to host Tekla at the Swedish Embassy in Cairo. This is the first time a Tekla workshop and panel are hosted in Africa or the Middle East. Our message is that we need more women in technology and science. For example, only 30 % of the researchers in the world are women. We hope that the young generation, many of which we have had join us for Tekla, will increase this number in the future,” said H.E. Jan Thesleff, Ambassador of Sweden to Egypt and EU Gender Champion for Egypt.
He continued “Egypt is a fantastic country of 100 million people and half of them are women, and during my two and half year in Egypt I have met so many strong, talented and ambitious Egyptian women in both business and government”.
Sameh Shoukry, Country Manager of Ericsson Egypt said: "Ericsson Egypt's celebration of International Women's Day this year will be through holding events and workshops in cooperation with experts from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH), with the aim of achieving added value for the participating girls. We believe in the need to achieve gender equality, as well as the need to provide a platform for discussion about challenges facing women such as stereotypes and rules that cause imbalances between the sexes with respect to science, technology and innovation, in a bid to find solutions through dialogue and training."
Aya Ghoneim, Business Development Educational Manager at Tradeline said that “Tradeline sponsored the event as part of our belief in women’s powerful role in all fields, specially technology and education. We had the honor to provide the workshop with iPads to help the young girls in learning the basics of programming and preparing them for the future”.
The event comes as a part of the Embassy of Sweden’s ongoing cooperation with Egypt in the fields of education and women’s empowerment. In December 2019, the Embassy together with the Swedish Business Community in Egypt with additional support from IKEA and Oriflame partnered with the Shagara initiative, to create a green – outdoor – classroom in Al Qanater Modern School (Al-Qalyubiya governorate), to alleviate the challenge of crowded classrooms and to create a green space for the students. The project included renovating the school’s roof, planting grass and flowers and building a space for outdoor teaching (when the weatherpermits). As Ambassador Thesleff mentioned at the inauguration of the project “if children learn to take care of nature and their surroundings, they also learn to take care of themselves”.