female data scientist, woman leading team

As a UK tech company operating its business in the MENA region, WOLF (The World’s Online Festival) believes passionately in the advancement and celebration of women.

Half of the business’ senior staff in the Middle East are female and overall, it  employs more women than men in its Middle East operations – something the team are very proud of given that less than 10% of the Middle East’s tech workforce is female.

This International Women’s Day WOLF wants to put the spotlight on MENA women and celebrate the contribution that women and girls in the region are making in the fields of technology, STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship – despite facing conventional beliefs, societal pressures and inequality challenges.

In the first virtual event of its kind, WOLF is launching a festival for its users based in MENA that is dedicated to showcasing women’s talents.

WOLF is an audio entertainment social network, which allows users to chat, entertain, and perform on a stage. The app takes the magic of real-world festivals and brings it to the online world – uniting people with a sense of fun, entertainment and belonging.

The brand has seen particular success in the Middle East (where it launched originally as Palringo in 2006) and has thrived with users, notably for women, who have built communities and made long-term friendships on the app, based on shared interests.

The business prides itself on being a platform where women in this area of the world can find their voice, and express themselves freely, creatively and artistically. To mark International Women’s Day, WOLF is celebrating its passion for equality and actively encouraging women in the region to take centre stage – literally.

The festival, which launches on 8 March, invites female talent from categories that range from poetry right through to comedy and motivational speaking.

Two of WOLF’s senior female leaders, Sundos Othman and Doua Aqel have been instrumental in bringing the idea to fruition. Both women have grown up in the Middle East and throughout their professional lives, have faced difficult gender challenges when trying to secure their place at the (boardroom) table.

Doua says: “Carving out a career in tech while growing up in Jordan, hasn’t always been easy. But, at WOLF, I am judged for my talents, skills and expertise – not my gender. I am part of a team which is actively encouraging and opening up opportunities to women who live in an environment where expressing personality and talent isn’t always encouraged and embraced.

“It helps that the WOLF platform is audio not video, and as such it means the performers are in a comfortable environment, without feeling self-conscious or exposed in any way. This is solely about talent and what women want to express with other people. Being able to socialise and entertain in this way is something that resonates with others on the platform that live in this part of the world.”

The registration to audition opened last month and WOLF has received over 350 entries from talent all over the region. The semi-finalists will be announced on 13 March when a voting system will open. On 17 March, the finalists will be announced with the festival culminating on 20 March with the final.

Sundos concludes: “WOLF is a platform where women can try new things out and explore the self-discovery of their talents and personal confidence. The idea behind the festival is to provide  an opportunity for women to unleash their talents.

“This initiative demonstrates the strides that are being made in celebrating women in this part of the world and it’s fantastic to be part of it.”

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