In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Rania Halimeh, regional business development manager META, Logical Operations & CertNexus at emt Distribution META, gave us valuable insights into the importance of technology learning to empowering women within the ICT industry.
In today's digital transformation, women are presented with new avenues for empowerment that can contribute to greater gender equality. The Internet and various digital platforms help bridge the digital divide by allowing women to increase their employment opportunities and access knowledge and information.
First of all, can you tell us more about your career and background within the ICT industry — from the time you started until now?
I have over 10 years of experience in business development and sales within the telecommunications and IT industries.
I entered the telecommunication field back in 2010 where I joined one of the leading companies in telecom in UAE by being part of the in-building solutions /network team as head of acquisition. After that, I moved to a company where their core business was network infrastructure and data centers and I served as the regional development manager. Currently, I am more involved in training for emerging technologies where we offer courses in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and data science through giving firsthand experience for graduates and highly strengthen their preparation for the local job market as well as identifying the skills of nontraditional candidates by enhancing them to stay relevant to the industry.
In line with your role at emt Distribution META, what is the core of your company?
emt Technology Distribution is a value-added master distributor for various cybersecurity, ITSM, and network monitoring solutions for the META, APAC, and Europe region. We act as major consultants for many sectors including security, ICT management, network, and education.
I serve as the regional channel development manager for the education department. We are partners with Logical Operations/CertNexus who are the global purveyor for vendor-neutral emerging technology certifications for business IT and security professionals.
Logical Operations manages the global channel of CertNexus authorized training providers as well as organization of national accreditations. We are accredited with a number of international organizations around the world including the US Department of Defense, NIST NICE Cyber Security Framework, United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Tamkeen in Bahrain and Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai, and many others.
In your opinion, how does technology learning contribute to empowering women in the ICT industry?
I believe that ICT is playing an important role in changing the attitude and perspective of society towards individuals especially for women. There are many efforts done by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to broaden the evidence base to better understand the position of women in the economy and society that is being transformed by digital technologies. Women are significantly less likely to choose natural sciences, engineering, and ICT studies.
However, emerging economies show encouraging countertrends; with more than 260,000 female ICT graduates in 2015. This is a positive aspect that shows there is a lot of interest from women to be involved in this industry, especially for countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia where governments are encouraging women to be part of the digitalization by offering training to reskill and upskill their knowledge.
Do you consider training as one of the pillars of digital transformation for future generations?
For any organization to digitally transform, education should be the first priority. If not, companies can’t be successful on digital transformation and digital culture initiatives. Especially after the pandemic, the whole world is now connected to networks. Training is playing a major role in reskilling and upskilling the employees and the new graduates. In 2016, there were 250 million fewer women than men online but now we can see this gap is shrinking due to the awareness and support from the governments where they empower women to play an essential role in their countries by offering the training and jobs vacancies in digital transformation.
We all know that the success of an organization depends largely on its people. Organizations with a plan for their digital maturity aim to train and develop the skills of their existing workforce. They understand that training professional and personal development is a priority for employees. If organizations empower their employees with digital education, they can leverage the training as a powerful retention tool in addition to gaining their new digital capabilities and incentivized attitude.
As a woman in the ICT industry, what is your take on gender equality?
I think in this digital world, internet is a great enabler of creating opportunities for women entrepreneurs to enter global markets for the first time. ICT will create opportunities to boost their business by creating an international and well-balanced field that enables businesses to compete on an equal footing in global markets.
ICT has brought women employment gains and I think women can succeed in ICT with the encouragement of parents, role models, mentors and the awareness of the country they live in.