It is a popular train of thought to believe that women in the Middle East have been in a losing battle against inequality. However, anti-sexist attitudes have gained positive momentum in certain regions in the Middle East. Women, like Lara Noujaim and Eve Tamraz, are now becoming leaders in the tech sector in countries like Lebanon.
Instead of reporting on disaster in the Middle East it is time to highlight the talent that has emerged from these tough times. Noujaim had other ideas in store for her future than what others may have planned for her. Noujaim left Lebanon for Santa Clara University in 2006 and completed an MBA. She then she joined Google in 2010; however, she left her dream career in the states. After three years of being a Data Evaluator, Noujaim pursued the ambition of creating a games industry in Lebanon. Noujaim’s patriotism was calling her to give back to her community in need. Noujaim immediately got to work when she got home, working for the gaming studio Game Cooks, who are primarily involved in mobile game development. Game Cooks studio has been known to be a community activist through their gaming as well with the creation of the app “Run for Peace” in 2013, a “Temple Run”-esque game with overtones of peace in the Middle East. Nuojaim is working for a company that is allowing her to fulfill her community calling. Game Cooks is a progressive company that does not let her status as a woman interfere with giving back to where she is from.
Another amazing talent doing great things for her native land comes from White Lab, another product of Lebanon’s tech hub. Tamraz, co-founder of White Lab, with her biochemistry background, created the Sensio AIR. The unique patented sensor was established for environmental health concerns. The biochemistry and nanotechnology of the Sensio AIR allows users to identify airborne allergens in the air. This product is the only air quality monitor that can identify particles of allergens, harmful gases, irritants, environmental parameters, and smoke. Tamraz wanted to sincerely improve her community with the creation of this device. The White Lab product is very community-interactive, and beta testing is currently in process if you would like to sign up. The adversity that Tamraz has been through has put her in the position of becoming both a great scientist and entrepreneur that the youth can find a role model in.
Being a highly educated woman in Lebanon is not an uncommon thing in spite of the stereotyping of women in the Middle East. “Compared to other countries in the world, a big proportion of companies in the tech sector here are being led by women,” Noujaim said, as quoted by The Guardian. The future tech zone in the Middle East is looking bright with more and more blossoming minds. Aspiring entrepreneurial young women can grow up to be like Noujaim and Tamraz, who are currently paving the way for their communities. The heartwarming stories of these women show how you can accomplish anything no matter your situation. As the tech zone grows in Lebanon so does the progressive education system for all students. Women in other areas of the Middle East are facing greater obstacles, but, with Lebanon women leading the way, other women may be encouraged to pursue prosperous careers in technology.
by Cole Conway