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.

About The Big 5

The Big 5 is the construction event providing leading-edge innovation, knowledge, and business opportunities for industry players around the world to connect, grow, and succeed.

Taking place annually in Dubai since 1979, the event has launched hundreds of thousands of products boosting the expansion of emerging markets. It has facilitated partnerships, advanced knowledge and industry best practices, while serving as the gateway for international companies to access the Middle East, Africa and South Asia regions.

The Big 5 covers the full construction cycle; not only does it showcase products across dedicated sectors, it also runs alongside nine specialised events enabling industry professionals to source building solutions from around the globe for every stage of the construction projects: The Big 5 Heavy, Middle East Concrete, Windows, Doors & Facades Event, Gulf Glass, HVAC R Expo, The Big 5 Solar, Middle East Stone, the Urban Design & Landscape Expo, and FM Expo.

The event includes high-level summits, practical seminars, CPD-certified workshops, and The Big 5 Impact Awards to foster collaboration, support best practices, and provide effective solutions to today’s industry challenges.

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.

About DMGT

DMGT manages a portfolio of companies that provide businesses and consumers with compelling information, analysis, insight, events, news and entertainment. The Group takes a long-term approach to investment and has market-leading positions in consumer media, insurance risk, property information, education technology, energy information and events & exhibitions. In total, DMGT generates revenues of around £1 billion.