Women and Memory Forum celebrates the stories of entrepreneurs in Egypt
The Women and Memory Forum (WMF), an organization advocating for the adoption of a gender perspective in studies of Arab history and social sciences, recently organized an event to celebrate its feminist oral history project titled ‘Documenting the Experiences of Women Entrepreneurs’. The event was attended by women entrepreneurs who were part of the project, their respective friends and family members, the board of directors of WMF, feminist activists, and some members of the general public.
‘Documenting the Experiences of Women Entrepreneurs’ revolved around the experiences of Egyptian women in various fields and from multiple backgrounds. This project is part of the Archive of Women’s Voices, which documents the lives of Egyptian women through narrations of their personal experiences.
Speaking at the event, Dalia Ebeid, Researcher at WMF, said, “We firmly believe that research in oral history by documenting Egyptian women’s life stories can prove vital in empowering women to play a more established role in society. Sadly, given the importance of such projects, only a handful of oral history projects exist in the Middle East and North Africa region. WMF wants to change this.”
WMF is filling this gap by providing resources for the wider community of researchers, activists, and students through the Oral History Library. So far, the organization has conducted over 300 oral interviews, including women over 75 years of age who have played prominent roles in public life.
Fatma Ahmed, founder of one of Egypt’s leading public relations agencies, MEAComS, and a participant of the ‘Documenting the Experiences of Women Entrepreneurs’ project, said, “Women have played and are still playing leading roles in their communities. And home-grown enterprises have been part of the growth of Egypt’s economy for the past decade. And it is heartening to note the efforts of the Women and Memory Forum in supporting and strengthening the local ecosystem for our female entrepreneurs. I am proud of my participation and I firmly believe that oral history can re-centre women’s voices, and I hope the platform can provide future generations with the inspiration and solutions they need to overcome their own business challenges.”
“I was honored to attend the celebration of the feminist oral history project on women entrepreneurs, a special and elevated kind of celebration. I was pleased to be made aware of the presence of feminist oral historians in the midst of current economic challenges in addition to general difficulties of conducting gender-sensitive work. I believe it is crucial to document women’s success stories to inspire other women.” Mariana Maher-Co-founder of First Step (Working Space)
“I was pleased to attend this celebration, which was characterized by high professionalism in organization and management, and with the participation of a very distinguished group of Egyptian entrepreneurs with their success stories despite societal challenges.” Engineer Amany Arafa-Chair of the Board of Directors at CNG Energy Services
The women entrepreneurs featured in the project included: Fatma Ahmed – Founder and MD of MEAComS, Nashwa Habib – Gender consultant with USAID, Farah Ahmed – Founder and CEO of The Baby Garage, Rania Ayman – Founder of Entreprenelle, Samar Assem – Co-founder of GTTDUN, Ola Loutfi – Partner & General Manager at the Dog Café, Hend Salem – Director of Elles Publishing House, Dr. Yomna Al-Sheridi – Founder and CEO of Special Food Industry International, Hanan Abdel-Meguid – Founder and CEO of Camelizer, May Gahallah – Founder of Nubian Treasures, Karam Tawfiq – Publisher and Founder of Al-Kutub Khan Publishing Company, Hend Gomaa – Founder and Director of Digify Mena, Lobna Abo Doma – Partner at Touch Wood, Mariana Maher – Founder of First Step, Marwa Kabary – Agricultural Engineer, Rabab Abo Doma – Partner at Touch Wood, Salwa Al-Kasabgy – Director and Owner of Sara Advertising, Kristin Ibrahim – Owner of the Ladies Shop, Amany Arafa – Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of CNG Energy Services, and Omayma Abo Doma – Partner at Touch Wood.