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Forbes 30/50 Europe, Africa and Middle East

I am a proud lister of Forbes 50/50 of 2023. The first 50 means 50 selected women and the second 50 means I am more than 50 years old. Say 51 years old (!)… 

As I was listed as 50/50 by Forbes in 2023 in Europe, Africa and Middle East, I was invited to the 30/50 event in Abu Dhabi.

I had attended Forbes 30/50 Summit held in Abu Dhabi during March 7, 8 and 9, 2023 on the International Women’s Day which was chaired by Mika Brzezinski and guest of honour and Co-Chair was the former State Secretary of the USA Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

In the mornings in MSNBC co-host of “Morning Joe” MSNBC, together with Joe Scarborough, is Mika Brzezinski. At the event Mika asked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “It is now three decades after Beijing conference our children we have fever rights than us. What is your comment?”

And I of course took some notes from her speech. She was not only Former United States Secretary of State, but a Senator, First Lady, Lawyer, an author and an activist. Among all these titles the one I like the most is former US Secretary of State in between us here. It may not sound a very American recognition, please permit me to call her HE Clinton here and there in this article.     

HE Hilary Clinton’s answer was as follows:

“First of all, it is fair to say we were making slow but steady progress in a range of issues that affect women and girls by two things. One is Covid. We have seen that women and girls have had been disproportionately impacted during Covid where we had seen as increase in domestic violence, child marriage and unemployment. And secondly, we have seen that an organized push back to the advancement took place. Based on current data Secretary General of the UN said that “it would take 250 hundred years for women to achieve pay equality. He also said that social, political, economic, and cultural advancement goals would take 300 years.”

Further she said “It is distressing to see what all we had achieved was lost.  And now it would take 300 years for gender equality.

In the US we had installed pay equality and equity. Now if you look at women founders and venture capital, last year only 1.9% of all of venture capital went to women which is a figure even less than it was in 2021.  

Bottom of line is we have to work harder. What we have been taking for granted is not there any longer.

When we look at organized institutional push back, we see that what we had taken for granted as rights are at risk now. 

Women and children are the primary victims of conflict and of climate change. This is no place that is surely safe and unfortunately, tragically and more dramatically it showed us what we see that women face the worst in the conflict zones like Ukraine, gender apartheid in Afghanistan and the prosecution and oppression of women in exercising their rights in Iran and so many other places.”

Errors in the text, if any, belongs to my notetaking ability. But she was very clear and very accurate in what she was saying. She was also very convincing that “we, men and women, need to work harder.”

At the ceremony HE Clinton gave awards to Olena Zelenska – First Lady of Ukraine, Gloria Steinem – Journalist and Activist, Billie Jean King – Sports Icon and Champion of Equality. It was declared that there was another award was intended to be given to Malala Yousafzai but she had to be elsewhere.

Every year Forbes 30 under 30 celebrates young and promising women leaders. Forbes 30/50 Summit is a global event for women, which ties in with International Women’s Day and 30/30 and 50/50. The events take place at worth to see venues like the UAE’s Louvre, Abu Dhabi.

Whenever 50 over 50 meets 30 under 30 they need to exchange experience and they inspire each other. The women I met in 30 under 30 were all source of an inspiration themselves. Young women have better confidence we used to have. This is very promising for our future. We made it in the success pathway due to the courage we could collect. With the distinctive courage and determination young people have they will definitely make our world a better place with their courage and inspiration. 

The women in the list 50/50 list made me very proud. These women were:

  1. Mona Ataya Cofounder, CEO, Mumzworld | UAE Largest Online Marketplace for Mothers
  2. Paula Amorim Chair, GALP Energia | Portugal Chair of Portugal’s largest legacy empire
  3. Wendy Appelbaum Chair, De Morgenzon Estate | South Africa Chair of wine yards and philanthropist
  4. Nathalie Becquart | Undersecretary, General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops | Vatican City French Undersecretary of Vatican
  5. Gamze Cizreli Founder, Chair, BigChefs | Turkiye Restaurant Chain Founder and Chair 
  6. Marzena Bielecka Founder, Experior Venture Fund | Poland Head of VC Firm
  7. Ana Patricia Botin Executive Chair, Santander | Spain Head of a Large bank in in Europe and and the Americas
  8. Ulla Brockenhuus-Schack Founder, Managing Partner, Seed Capital Denmark | Denmark
  9. Denise Coates Founder, Co-CEO, Bet365 | United Kingdom Online betting company
  10. Lucia Calvosa Board Chair, Eni | Italy Chair of the one the largest multinational oil companies in the world, and professor of Law
  11. Anne-Marie Couderc Chair, Air France-KLM | France Chair of a major European Airline Company
  12. Elaine Coughlan Cofounder, Managing Partner, Atlantic Bridge Capital | Ireland Fund Manager and Investor
  13. Salam Dakkak Chef, Owner, Bait Maryam | UAE Mediterranean Chef cited in Michelin Guide
  14. Tsitsi Dangarembga Author, Filmmaker | Zimbabwe Activist, Filmmaker and Author
  15. Nike Davies-Okundaye Textile Artist | Nigeria Designer and promotes women in weaving
  16. Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken Executive Director, Heineken Holding NV | Netherlands Head and shareholder of Heineken
  17. Jacqueline de Rojas Chair, Digital Leaders | United Kingdom Influential Women in Tech
  18. Nathalie de Vries Architect, MVRDV | Netherlands Urban design architect with focus on sustainability
  19. Gina Domanig Founder, CEO, Emerald Ventures | Switzerland VC Founder of a Swiss Venture Capital
  20. Nathalie Drach-Temam President, Sorbonne University | France
  21. Annie Ernaux Author | France First Frenchwoman to win the Nobel for literature
  22. Azza Fahmy Founder, Azza Fahmy Jewellery | Egypt Jewelry designer
  23. Fabiola Gianotti Director-General, CERN | Switzerland DG of Nuclear research Center
  24. D’vorah Graeser Founder, CEO, KISSPatent & KISSPlatform | Netherlands Pharmacologist with IP patents
  25. Sophia Loren Actress, Restaurateur | Italy Legendary actress, cookbook author, opened restaurants in Naples and recently in Milan
  26. Nezha Hayat CEO, Chair, AMMC | Morocco Member of the board of a large bank
  27. Agnieszka Holland Film Director | Poland President of European Film Academy
  28. Silke Horáková Cofounder, Partner, Tilia Impact Ventures | Czech Republic VC Company
  29. Amina J. Mohammed Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations | Nigeria, Britain 
  30. Ursula Nold Chair of Migros | Swithzerland
  31. Agnes Kalibata CEO, AGRA | Rwanda Head of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
  32. Najwa Karam Singer | Lebanon Shining Sun of Arabic Music
  33. Wendy Luhabe | Cofounder, Wiphold | South Africa Economic advancement of women
  34. Divine Ndhlukula | Founder, Managing Director, Securico | Zimbabwe MD of a large systems company
  35. Helen Mirren | Actress | United Kingdom Academy Award Winner for Best Actress
  36. Nicola Mitchell Founder, CEO, Life Scientific | Ireland Founder of a company crop protection solutions
  37. Precious Moloi-Motsepe Founder, African Fashion International | South Africa Promotes African textile, Chancellor in Education and philanthropist
  38. Randa Muhammad Sadik CEO, Arab Bank | Jordan CEO of Arab Bank in Jordan
  39. Zlatolina Mukova Managing Partner, New Vision 3 Fund | Bulgaria Tech Venture Capital Firm
  40. Helena Ndume Ophthalmologist | Namibia Head of Ophthalmology at a government hospital
  41. Ursula Nold Board Chair, Migros | Switzerland Chair of Swiss Supermarket Chain
  42. Arunma Oteh Economist | Nigeria Executive in residence at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and Chair of the Royal African Society
  43. Sophie Paturle Guesnerot Founder, Demeter | France Private Equity Founder
  44. Miri Ratner Cofounder, VP, Vayyar | Israel Head of R&D for a tech company for radar sensors, medical screening and other
  45. Asmaa Rhlalou Mayor, Rabat | Morocco Mayor of Morocco’s capital city
  46. Nataša Pirc Musar President | Slovenia President of Slovenia
  47. Bianca Tetteroo Board Chair, Achmea | Netherlands Chair of the Executive Board of a Dutch insurance company
  48. Galina Timchenko Cofounder, CEO | Meduza, Former publisher and executive editor of a Russian language news website
  49. Rafaèle Tordjman Founder, CEO, Jeito Capital | France Founder of Private Equity Firm
  50. Gulden Turktan Founding Chair, W20-Women 20 | Turkiye, activist for gender inclusive business for all G20 countries, author of a leadership book

I must conclude by saying that I am extremely honoured to be recognized as a “thought leader” in the list with my role as the Founding Chair of the W20 of G20. And not recognized as a corporate executive or civil society leader or an entrepreneur. When the local press person asked what our thought products did you came up with? I couldn’t believe my own ears about my own list while I was citing them to him. 

Thank you, Forbes! For letting me understand what I have so far achieved.

March 8 2023, Abu Dhabi

Published inArticles