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Ooredoo Conference connects women with technology in Myanmar
October 28, 2014, 12:09 pm

Ooredoo recently hosted Myanmar’s first-ever Connected Women conference in Yangon in collaboration with global mobile operator association, the GSMA. During the conference experts explored how Myanmar’s technological revolution could be leveraged to empower women in Myanmar, equipping them with the tools to accelerate the nation’s progress.

The Connected Women conference united inspirational speakers and thought leaders from a wide spectrum of disciplines to focus on the role of women in Myanmar’s fast-moving mobile and technology sectors.

Health, education and entrepreneurship were key areas of focus during the conference. The discussions focused on how the empowerment of women through mobile technology across Myanmar would be an important driver in furthering the economic and social development of the country.

Virginia Murray, Deputy Mission Director US Embassy and a keynote speaker at the event commented: “We must demonstrate a firm commitment to empowering women in Myanmar, seeding social change in communities across the country.Technology can play a critical role in facilitating this development but for any meaningful change to take place we must work together. Such commitment, as has already been demonstrated by many of the local and international female business leaders attending the conference, will help to sustain progress in Myanmar not only economically but across sectors throughout the country.”

During the event the GSMA led a panel discussion on Women and Technology and the female-majority team which recently won the 2nd Ooredoo-sponsored Hackathon, also shared their experience and offered suggestions around how to better encourage women to participate in Myanmar’s vibrant, young ICT community.

“The GSMA Connected Women programme seeks to accelerate the growth of the female digital economy by working with partners to bring significant socio-economic benefits to women globally whether they are consumers of mobile services or employed in the telecommunications industry.  Women generally tend to be later adopters of mobile services and with this in mind the recent Connected Women conference sparked some excellent dialogue around how technology can empower Myanmar’s women at the base of the pyramid.  We look forward to seeing these discussions translate into action over the coming months,” said Claire Sibthorpe, Connected Women Programme Director, GSMA.

During the event, Ooredoo’s start up accelerator, Ideabox, launched  Geek Girls Myanmar, a community group of female technology professionals, students and enthusiasts and the first designed-for-women initiative in the technology industry in Myanmar.  Their objective is to link female IT professionals and enthusiasts together, so as to create greater engagement and female participation within the technology sector as a whole.  The next meeting will take place in November. 

The conference also coincided with the recent launch of Ooredoo’s maymay app, a healthcare app aimed at delivering access to a wide range of pre and ante natal healthcare information and advice. The app is a prime example of how technology and Ooredoo’s network roll-out can be harnessed to improve access to essential information.

Ross Comack, CEO of Ooredoo Myanmar, commented, ‘We are passionate about working to help women overcome the barriers which prevent them from accessing technology, such as technological illiteracy, costs and cultural or gender practices.  We have a unique opportunity here in Myanmar to help address this issue early on in the country’s development.” 

He continued: “We were delighted to participate in the energetic discussions during the event around how we can best use technology to champion women and to help women thrive in society, to support their social and economic development and to accelerate Myanmar’s female mobile economy.  Forums such as this will be critical to helping ensure greater collaboration across the industry here in Myanmar as we work to ensure that this opportunity is not lost.”

Dr Nasser Marafih, Group CEO of Ooredoo, added, ‘The Connected Women conference in Myanmar facilitated discussions on an area that Ooredoo champions in all of its markets.  Connecting women and helping them better leverage technology is a global priority of ours.  We have made specific commitments here in Myanmar to connect millions of women who have never had access to the Internet before, enabling them to experience the incredible life-changing opportunities this connectivity can provide.’

Ooredoo is a proud long-term partner of the GSMA’s Connected Women programme and recently committed to working with the GSMA and other partners to develop studies which derive critical insights into the socio-economic benefits of greater inclusion of women in the telecommunications sector. The findings will be used by partners – including Ooredoo – to develop initiatives and services for female consumers and employees. In Myanmar the programme is aiming to reduce the nation’s connectivity gap and to help those underserved today, both as consumers and employees, to achieve their potential.

Ooredoo will draw on the data to provide tailored services for women in Myanmar, with the objective of connecting millions of women to mobile and internet services, many of whom have had no prior access to the Internet.

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