Real life stories, best practices and challenges overcome by top women in the industry in focus at the largest construction event in the Middle East

The first Women in Construction Seminar & Awards launched today at the Dubai World Trade Centre, as part of The Big 5, the Middle East’s largest construction event. Organised in association with Mott MacDonald, the Seminar addressed the challenges that women face in terms of equal opportunities in construction, a traditionally male dominated sector.

Anwaar Al Shimmari, Chief Innovation Officer at the UAE Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Cynthia Corby, Audit Partner & Middle East Construction Industry Leader at Deloitte & Touche Middle East, Hind Alowais, Vice President International Participants at EXPO 2020, and Dr. Shetha Al-Zubaidi, CEO Alfahim Avenue Group Companies - Brookson Project Management, were among the many high profile professionals who participated as speakers in the event.

In her opening remarks, Josine Heijmans, Portfolio Director at dmg events, said:

“As we pursue our mission to support and move the building industry forward, we recognize that developing the construction sector also means developing its work force.
 “With The Big 5’s Women in Construction Seminar & Awards, not only we are putting women empowerment and gender parity in construction on top of the agenda. We are also shedding light on some of the great women who are changing the game and making an impact in the construction sector."

A panel of experts awarded Jovana Lukac, Structural Engineer at Robert Bird Group, and Suheir Islam, Geotechnical Engineer at SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins, as Next-Generation Woman of the Year 2018.

Suad Khawaja, Dubai Area Manager at Parsons, was awarded Woman in Leadership of the Year, in light of her outstanding achievements and leadership skills and positive impact on the industry.

Shorouq Hamawi, Regional Communications and Marketing Manager at Mott Macdonald, and one of the speakers at the Women in Construction Seminar, said: “Continuing from the UAE’s leadership vison and its approach to women’s empowerment, we believe this is a great opportunity to showcase our commitment to support and value women in construction.

“Traditionally, women have faced challenges related to pay gap, career development, promotion opportunities and leadership appointments. We are however seeing policy changes and new practices in place to close the pay gap and to introduce more friendly regulations that should allow women to have a balance between their professional and private lives which will ultimately, allow women to pursue leadership opportunities and invest more in their career development journey.”


Taking place on November 28 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the Women in Construction Seminar & Awards is part of The Big 5, which hosts over 2,500 construction companies from more than 60 countries.

The event, on its 39th edition, is expected to pave the way for new partnerships and investments, connecting professionals from around the world, in Dubai. 

HVAC R Expo – the new event dedicated to the HVACR industry, The Big 5 Solar – bringing solar solutions for construction, the Urban Design & Landscaping Expo (UDLE) - the region’s only event dedicated to landscaping, infrastructure and urban development, The Big 5 Heavy – the leading event dedicated to infrastructure and heavy construction in the Middle East, and Middle East Concrete (MEC) – the region’s largest event dedicated to concrete, also run as part of The Big 5 this year.

The mega construction event offers a broad education agenda to exhibitors and visitors alike, comprising more than 100 free to attend, CPD-certified workshops, as well as five high-profile Summits.


To know more about The Big 5 (26-29 November, Dubai World Trade Centre) visit www.thebig5.ae.

Jessica Scopacasa
Jessica Scopacasa Senior Public Relations Manager, dmg events
About The Big 5

23 - 26 November 2020, Dubai World Trade Centre

The Big 5 is the region’s largest and most influential event for the construction industry.

Since 1979, the event has launched hundreds of thousands of products boosting the expansion of the Middle East and African markets. It has facilitated partnerships, advanced knowledge and industry best practices, while serving as the gateway for international companies to access the region.

Having celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019, the event seeks to support construction companies through a shifting economic landscape, boost business, launch the latest building solutions, educate industry professionals, and foster best practices championing technological innovation. 

The Big 5 covers the full construction cycle; not only does it showcase products across six dedicated product sectors: MEP services, Building Interiors & Finishes, Building Envelope & Special Construction, Construction Tools & Building Materials, Construction Technology & Innovation, and the all new Offsite & Modular Construction.

It also runs alongside six specialised events enabling industry professionals to source products from around the globe for every stage of the construction projects: The Big 5 Heavy, Middle East Concrete, HVAC R Expo, Middle East Stone, The Big 5 Solar, and the Urban Design & Landscape Expo.

Beyond bringing to Dubai over 20,000 innovative building solutions to over 68,000 expected visitors, the seven co-located events provide complimentary high-level summits, practical seminars, and CPD-certified workshops to foster collaboration, support best practices, and provide effective solutions to today’s industry challenges.

In order to promote technological innovation in the construction sector, the event also features The Big 5’s Start-Up City, the Live Innovation Zone, and the FutureTech Construction Summit, among others.

The Big 5 is organised by dmg events and is free to attend for all pre-registered visitors.


To know more, visit www.thebig5.ae

About dmg events

dmg events is a leading organiser of face-to-face events and a publisher of trade magazines.

We aim to keep businesses informed and connect them with relevant communities to create vibrant marketplaces and to accelerate their business through face-to-face events.

dmg events organises more than 80 events across 25 countries, attracting over 425,000 attendees and delegates every year. The company’s portfolio of products includes many industry-leading events in the energy, construction, hospitality & design, coatings and transportation sectors. ADIPEC, The Big 5, Gastech, EGYPS, The Hotel Show and INDEX are the company’s flagship events. For more information visit www.dmgevents.com.

Founded in 1989, the company is headquartered in Dubai, UAE, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT, www.dmgt.co.uk), one of the largest media companies in the United Kingdom.