We are ecstatic to introduce to you…Dr. Rania Azmi, an Egyptian “Woman of Influence” based in Kuwait, serving as a strategic adviser to one of the largest Sovereign Wealth Funds in the world, key contact person in Egypt and Kuwait for the International Association for Feminist Economics, and a women’s empowerment advocate! Rania is giving away her special report entitled “Women As Investment Managers: Are Women Better Investment Managers Than Men?” More info about Dr. Azmi and details on how to enter to win her special report  following her post. ***Giveaway below – Ends June 15th***

By Dr. Rania Azmi

Strategic Adviser, Sovereign Wealth Fund & Women’s Empowerment Advocate
Virginia Beach, VA USA

I would like to share with you some of my personal thoughts in the above topic as part of my passion to bridge the understanding gap across cultures, religions, professions, etc.  More than half a billion of women in the world is Muslim. Yet, stereotypes of Muslim women have long prevailed. The Western understanding of Muslim women remains unduly influenced by evidence from a single region. The social science scholarship most familiar to the West about Muslim women focuses disproportionately on the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). Often seen as the land of Muslims par excellence, MENA is home to fewer than 20% of the world’s Muslims. Half a billion Muslim women inhabit some 45 Muslim-majority countries, and another 30 or more countries have significant Muslim minorities, including, increasingly, countries in the developed West.

Misconceptions about the role of women in the Islamic society can only be extirpated by differentiating between the teachings of Islam as a religion and a way of life, and local customs and traditions which are often conceived as part of it.

Women, from the Islamic point of view, are considered equal to men in legal, political, economic and social life. The ancient Arabs, before Islam, considered woman a shame and disgrace. When a father is given the news of having a female baby he is filled with grief and hides away instead of celebrating. This changed when Islam came. Islam raised women to the highest position a human being can reach. The First order in the history of humanity was given to both man and woman. Woman and man are equal in reward and each is compensated according to her/his deeds, for there is no difference between them as to their readiness and willingness to obey Allah. In Islam, women are the sisters of men. Being the sister of man she constitutes half the society. She is the wife, the mother, and the daughter.

Most current scholarship rejects the idea that the Islamic religion is the primary determinant of the status and conditions of Muslim women. Because of the wide variation in Muslim women’s status and conditions, researchers typically attribute more causal salience to determining factors that themselves vary across nations and regions.  To account for the variable situations of Muslim women, scholars cite as causal factors, for  example, variations in the economic structures and strategies of nations, or variations in the preexisting cultural value patterns of a given locale.

Women worldwide face the challenge of balancing their professional roles with that of their families and communities. The capacity building efforts could help fill the knowledge gap in understanding the challenges faced by women.

An old saying tells us that women’s work is never done. Yet, for too many women in the Arab world, in some respects it never begins. Let me conclude with words from Qur’an, which is the rope between the Muslims and Allah (Chapter 49, Verse 13): “O people! Surely We have created you from a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah (God) is the one among you who is most righteous (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.”

Dr. Azmi is currently a strategic advisor to one of the world’s major SWF’s. She has a firsthand experience within the Middle East markets besides her knowledge of the global financial markets. Dr. Azmi was a consultant of the International Finance Corporation and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and she lectured in major universities in Egypt, Kuwait, France, Italy, UK and Finland. Awarded the Google Prize in 2009 for ‘Most Interesting and Creative Work’, she presented various talks on investments and economics at many international conferences, including at the World Bank. Dr. Azmi has been also active in leadership and community efforts, receiving the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and participating in the IVLP Program (the IVLP’s distinguished alumni include Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair). Dr. Azmi is a vice president and a board member in a number of NGOs and professional associations both locally and internationally. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Portsmouth on multiple objectives investment decision making and contributed several articles and book chapters on Portfolio Optimization, Investment Decision Making, Sustainability after the recent Financial Crisis, among other researches, and most recently joined the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council.

To learn more about Dr. Azmi, please visit her website www.raniaazmi.com 



Dr. Azmi will be giving away her special report entitled, Women As Investment Managers: Are Women Better Investment Managers Than Men?

The giveaway for Dr. Azmi’s special report has the same rules as the other Speakerpalooza giveaways:

1. To enter to win, comment on this blog, leaving an email address to contact you in case you win. The winner will be selected based on the quality of your comment and the traffic you drive to her post from your social media channels.
2. The giveaway runs from now until June 15th at midnight. Three winners will be chosen and contacted. They have 72 hours to reply before the prize defaults to the runner-up. Winners will be announced on June 25th here on the WSA featured blog.
3. Only one entry per giveaway. (But you can enter as many different Speakerpalooza giveaways as you want.)
4. International submission accepted!

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