The future is female

Ebru Tuygun, Marketing and Communications Lead for Accenture in the Middle East, explains the number of ways women bring 'positive' power to their workplace

By Nisthula Nagarajan

Published: Thu 24 Jun 2021, 9:41 PM

In your observation, how has the UAE shifted to accommodate women in the workforce? 

The significance of female empowerment and gender balance cannot be overstated. It is well understood here in the UAE, which leads the wider region when it comes to women in work, policy, government, culture - indeed, in all aspects of public life.

The UAE has set special policies to protect women and promote gender equality in the workplace. Key UAE achievements towards gender equality include:  

- Half of the businesses in the small-to-medium enterprise sector in the UAE are handled by women

- The UAE has opened the region's first military college for women, Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School

- The Federal National Council has nine women members out of a total of 40

- Four women have been appointed as judges, two as public prosecutors and

- 17 as assistant public prosecutors and marriage officials

- Women make up 30 per cent of the diplomatic corps.

What do you see as the future for women in leading positions? 

Women empowerment can increase with women supporting each other, growing next generation women leaders. Women need to coach and encourage young women to keep developing themselves, continue to learn every day. The number of women in board rooms is increasing, which is a positive sign. Companies need to act boldly and hire more women executives on a board, to include female voices in leadership. Physical appearance on a board is of course a crucial step, hence, listening to women's perspectives and enabling them to execute their ideas, programmes and impact the culture you live in is the next step.

What are the digital marketing trends in the UAE for 2021? 

The past year has forced us to experiment with new solutions, new places and new experiences. It changed how we live, work, learn, shop and play, as well as how and where we experience things. It pushed us into remote working, muddling the relationship between employer and employee. The more time we've spent interacting with the world through a screen, the more we've craved a break from digital confinement. As a result, we've become at-home innovators, developing new strategies and 'life hacks' to deal with our strange and unbidden circumstances.

A brand new set of challenges has emerged for businesses: how to respond from operational as well as communication perspectives, how to meet our constantly changing expectations, how to stretch their empathy.

How are local companies integrating digitalisation respective to their industries?  

The most successful companies continuously refresh and energise their growth strategies to capitalise on new market opportunities and remain competitive. But the response and transformation to cloud-based solutions have been different around the globe.

In the UAE, the leadership is extremely focused on adopting digitalisation. The core of this focus is bringing important technologies such as AI and Blockchain. At the government level, the mindset and programmes are there, however, it takes time to implement that vision and leverage the linkages across those programmes. 

The national agenda for digital government is heavily focused on interlinking all government bodies across one platform. We have seen it with updating visas and adopting e-signatures at scale during this pandemic period. 

What are the key points for a leader to keep in mind when managing a team? 

Being transparent, inclusive, enabling your team members to grow and open to new ideas are key. It is up to the team leader to define whether those ideas are fit with the business strategy and the team needs to respect this decision. Another crucial point is that leaders have to be mindful of their team members' personal situations. Being tough on them will not resolve any issue - if you want loyalty and respect in your team, always be mindful of what they are going through personally and be supportive. This will return as highly motivational team members who will always remember you as a lifetime leader in your career vs just a manager who happened to be reported for a certain period.

How can companies implement diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the right way? 

It all starts with respecting individual cultures and not imposing whatever nationality you are. As Erin Meyer points out in her book, The Culture Map, "If your business success relies on your ability to work successfully with people around the world, you need to have an appreciation for cultural differences as well as respect for individual differences. Both are essential". 

What one says, what one means and what another one understands may be totally different. Hence, we need to appreciate our differences, respect our cultures and avoid creating stereotypes and cherish people to be authentic themselves if we want to create real and impactful leaders.

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