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Bridging 'Gender Gap' to add $2.7t to the regional economy

Rohma Sadaqat /Dubai
rohma@khaleejtimes.com Filed on October 11, 2021
With more women setting up SMEs and gender gap bridging, the Mena region could add $2.7 trillion to the economy by 2025

Studies have shown that Arab women entrepreneurs are fast starting their ventures mostly between the age of 25 and 34

It will take another 257 years, at the current pace, to bridge the gender gap in terms of economic participation, a recent report by the World Economic Forum has stated.

The business landscape across the world continues to be dominated by men, despite the well-known benefits of gender parity. However, some countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, are now making concerted efforts to ensure gender parity by providing women with more financing options, business training, mentoring, and networking opportunities for entrepreneurship.

In the Middle East, 7.6 per cent of women are early-stage entrepreneurs compared with 11.8 per cent of men. According to the UAE’s Department of Economic Development, 48 per cent of SMEs are headed by women in the country. The UAE has not only pledged $50 million to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative Fund but also gender equality as one of its sustainable development goals. Despite this, the recent Campaign Middle East’s Power List did not include one woman.

Several studies have pointed out that with more women setting up SMEs and gender gap bridging, the Mena region could add $2.7 trillion to the economy by 2025. This includes women-led PR agencies who are well prepared to meet the demand for specialised services, such as public relations, marketing communications, social media, and experiential marketing.

The role of the communications industry is bound to increase in today’s technology-driven highly connected world. Strategic communication planning is of paramount importance and new SMEs need it more than ever. Every business, small and large, can hugely benefit in terms of growing brand awareness, visibility and exposure by engaging specialised communications agencies and experts. Programmatic PR can amplify any company’s message and attract more clients with the help of digital age tools such as websites, apps and social media platforms.

New SMEs can gain exposure through meaningful media relations. Communication experts can strategise and plan press conferences, product launches, and various other events of an organisation for widespread coverage in media. Once the brand image is built, experts can create content and outreach programmes to keep the positive public perception intact. If a company’s reputation is hit, communication specialists ensure it is completely restored. Equally important is the internal communication for high levels of employee engagement.

All in all, the communications industry can play a constructive and proactive role in ensuring the success of women-owned SMEs. As these women explore the business world, the communications industry will gain more prominence and engagement to catapult new ventures into the limelight, and we are proud to be a part of this enriching journey.

rohma@khaleejtimes.com

author

Rohma Sadaqat

I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.





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