Family-work balance possible among Arab women, study shows

DUBAI — A survey conducted across working men and women in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt has examined how employed women of today are coping with the challenges of private and professional life.

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Published: Fri 26 Nov 2010, 11:20 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 11:34 AM

With thesecond annual Women in Leadership Forum Middle East coming to a successful close, the business information company, naseba, in collaboration with YouGov Siraj, made public on Thursday another study entitled “Balancing Work and Family.”

The report qualitatively complements the previous “Women and the Workplace: Drivers and Barriers” survey conducted across 1,500 respondents in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which highlighted attitudes that both employed and unemployed women have regarding the workplace.

Nowadays societal beliefs suggest that family is a priority before anything else, yet the WIL series highlight a different facet, emphasising the commercial affinities Arab women nurture.

Without support many of the attendees to naseba’ssecond annual Women in Leadership Forum Middle East admitted it would be hard to succeed, nominating the roles of woman and man in the Middle East society as complementing pieces of a whole.

In this context, 53 per cent of women respondents indicated that their “life is well balanced” between work and family.

Nonetheless, when quizzed about the impact family responsibilities have on their work, 33 per cent of female respondents indicated they had to take time off from work and 27 per cent said they were unable to work additional hours.

One in four claimed they even had to take work home. A similar number also had to work on weekend to complete the work responsibilities.

When it comes to management support for working women in balancing responsibilities between family and work, an overall 18 per cent indicated management was very supportive. However working women in Saudi Arabia followed by Egypt appear more dissatisfied with the support they receive from their management in comparison to those in the UAE.

Finally, female respondents were asked to give their suggestions on how organisations could help them find a balance between work and family. Some spontaneously stated solutions included being allowed to work from home, have day care facilities as well as access to vocational training to enhance skills for those returning to the workforce.

The study, conducted in collaboration with YouGov Siraj, is an expanding component of naseba’s second annual Women in Leadership Forum, which took place on November 23 and 24, in Abu Dhabi.

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