WDS Celebrates Women’s Day Featuring Top CEOs, Military Leaders

On International Women’s Day (March 8), World Defense Show 2022 (WDS) hosted hundreds of leading women in defence at Saudi Arabia’s first-ever International Women in Defence event to celebrate, promote, and accelerate women’s participation in the industry.

In Riyadh, prominent personalities spoke at the event including Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States, Phebe Novakovic, Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of General Dynamics; and Marion Blakely, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce North America, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, and WDS Steering Committee Member.

Key speakers also included Ms. Dana Stroul, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for the Middle East, Ms. Heidi Grant, President of Business Development, Boeing Defence, Space & Government Services and Former Director of the Defence Security Cooperation Agency, Dr Moudhi Al-Jamea, Vice President of Saudi Telecom Co (STC); and Mishaal Ashemimry, Space technology consultant and the First female aerospace engineer in the GCC.

Featuring a full day of panels, thought leadership sessions and networking opportunities, the International Women in Defence event was an ideal platform to debate, discuss and collaborate on evolving initiatives to enhance gender balance and diversity across the sector.

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud commented, “The empowerment of Saudi women is at the heart of the Vision 2030 reform programme, and that momentum needs to continue on a global level. The World Defense Show’s International Women in Defence programme provides a unique platform and opportunity to build on this success.”

Penny McPherson, Head of the Women in Defense programme at WDS, said, “Saudi Arabia’s WDS comes at an opportune time both for the Kingdom and the global defence industry. Not only did we host female CEOs and leaders from around the world, but through a series of panels, speeches and discussions we showcased how women are at the forefront of progress in Saudi Arabia and globally.”

Founded by the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), WDS, the global stage for interoperability, will take place biennially and bring together industry stakeholders across borders and domain expertise to promote defence trade and innovation in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

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