Women – It’s Finally Our Century

This is a guest post from the amazing Shaheeda Abdul Kader. We loved it and wanted to share it with our blog readers.

I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would bear witness to this wonderful era. I can barely sustain my joy, excitement.

You see, I was born in a small town in India where I became the first female in my family to go to High School, Undergrad, MBA and even work with Fortune 500 companies. Unfortunately, no other woman in my family followed me all the way. I have always felt sad about this. You see, its a hard, uphill battle.

However, the World is finally, seriously talking  about Equal Rights for Women; Equal Pay, Senior Management Positions and Board Representations for Women.

There are valuable research and reports that prove the tremendous positive impact of gainfully employed women on the GDP and Education and therefore competitiveness of nations. World Economic Forum published a report in 2014 explaining just that.

The best part is there are now Women helping other Women. Its wonderful.

Sofia Fund, for example, is run by a team of amazing Women leaders entirely supporting Women entrepreneurs. CNBC recently profiled 13 Women who broke the VC barrier.

According to a recent article in Forbes, 26% of all angel investors (USA) in 2014 were women which is a 43% increase from 2013.

So how wonderful is that in our own UAE, I had the delight and privilege to meetWOMENA – an organization that helps Women of the region become Angel Investors. It is led by 2 outstanding, brilliant young ladies, Elissa Freiha, and Chantalle Dumonceaux. They understand Women, their power as well as their trepidations of stepping into the field of investing – an area dominated my men in this region.

WOMENA not only scouts for investment opportunities, vetting startups in the region to present to their members, but most importantly they educate and help their members in understanding the investing landscape by demystifying terms like “Term Sheets”, “Prom-Note”, “Valuation”, etc. They have an excellent business model that is not threatening to a novice investor.

I personally enjoy attending their monthly events where they introduce two new start ups and invite members to consider investing post a thorough due diligence process.

I do hope that there will be more and more women participating in all aspects of a country’s growth and sustainability. I certainly intend to ride the wave, participate in it and enjoy it.