Workshop 5 / GRM 2024
Women in the GCC Socio-economic Contributions to the Urbanisation of Gulf Countries: Status, Challenges, Aspirations.


In light of achieving the UN SDGs, the global quest on accelerating gender parity in the workplace and at the same time the longing for nationalisation in the workforce in the GCC, this workshop aims at investigating the role of women and their socio-economic contributions to urbanisation across time.The increasing demand in urban development and construction activities in the Gulf Region, especially in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, promise new opportunities for integrated work cultures. However, women account for 11% of employees in architecture and engineering job families, a lower share than other related STEM industries. In the Arab region the gender gaps in the labor force are considerably larger.Historically women have been the “building masters” of desert habitations, such as the Bait. Made of intricate sustainable material choices (animal fibres) and traditional weaving techniques such as Al Sadu (in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and UAE) the work of the Bedouin women is now recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.The unprecedented level of urbanisation and settlement in the Gulf region necessitates an examination of the many variables that must be addressed to create inclusive urban desert cultures in the future. Learning from the active role of women in Desert Cultures of the past could inspire solutions for increasing future challenges and opportunities for and through women to combat climate change through meaningful socio-culturally and ecologically sound economic contribution to secure future sustainable development in the Gulf region.To achieve the desired net-zero urbanisation in deserts and drylands of the GCC according to many Gulf countries’ strategic development plans, this workshop will take SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities) and the SDG5 (equity integration of women into the workforce) as a focus to discuss the status, challenges, and aspirations for integrated future urbanisation of desert cultures in the GCC.Stakeholders from various disciplines (urban planning, architecture, design, engineering, operation, risk management, insurance, sociology, policy making, culture, education, etc.) are invited to investigate opportunities how genuinely inclusive and integrated urban practices may be possible under aspects of: Workforce and Employment Entrepreneurship and Innovation Arts and CultureValuesEducation and SkillsOverall we will be investigating women’s socio-economic contributions through the lenses of academia, industry and governance on how to implement the existing and develop the next generation of women in sustainable urban development for future cities in desert cultures.

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Professor Daniela A.


Associate Professor of Architecture -
Bond University

Professor Adina


Associate Professor -
Zayed University


Grichting Solder

University of Vermont, Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security
Senior Research Fellow

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