Gender equality strengthens innovation
Women empowerment advocacy has yielded positive outcomes at the national level, with the UAE setting examples for other regional and international counterparts to follow
Organisations that are shaping the business landscape by empowering women in the workplace have proven to be more innovative, experts highlighted.
Speaking ahead of International Women’s Day, several business leaders noted how gender equality is impacting the success story of firms today.
“We believe that gender equality strengthens innovation, creativity, engagement, collaboration, and high performance - all necessary ingredients for a successful workplace in an increasingly competitive and complex world,” said Natalja Kissina, HR VP Gulf Countries at Schneider Electric. “In line with the UAE vision for gender equality, we continue to advance career development for women throughout the employment life cycle, to ensure that we empower and advance top female talent up to the highest levels of our organisation. Under the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), we’ll continue to pursue gender equality in our workplace while also promoting empowerment and advocacy in the markets where we do business.”
Fahad Al Hassawi, acting CEO, du, also noted how International Women’s Day is an occasion that bears particular significance. “Besides serving as a welcome reminder of the importance of gender equality, we as individuals and a society are given an invaluable platform to commemorate female accomplishments across the social, economic, and political spectrums.”
From an organisational standpoint, the contributions of women in overcoming workplace challenges in recent times alone have been nothing short of invaluable, he said. Guided by their knowledge, passion, and professionalism, women have demonstrated excellence and intuition in every instance, helping businesses meet requirements, supporting staff to carry out responsibilities, and assisting customers as per their demands and expectations.
“Women empowerment advocacy has also yielded positive outcomes at the national level, with the UAE setting examples for other regional and international counterparts to follow in line with the vision of the esteemed leadership. Driven by the National Agenda and commitments to the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), women are being given opportunities and showcasing their potential in diverse roles, different verticals, and various industrial sectors,” Al Hassawi said. “Now, it is our obligation to oversee further development in the field of women empowerment, encouraging women to pursue their chosen career paths and promoting parity and prosperity across all internal processes and external practices. 2021 promises to present further avenues that will lead to success in this direction, and we at du look forward to once again acting as a force for good.”
Belgin Ertam, vice president – HR, GE Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, noted that the UAE provides one of the most inspiring environments in the world for women to excel in all fields. This is underlined by the participation of women in all major breakthrough achievements by the nation, including the successful Hope Probe interplanetary mission to Mars. The UAE’s leadership, she said, has always prioritized women empowerment, from education to job creation to driving an entrepreneurial culture.
“Today, the women of the UAE are also at the forefront of the development and deployment of next-generation technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, which will define their strong role in progressing the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” she said. “The various policies of the government for the public and private sector alike show the UAE’s commitment to empowering women and ensuring their well-being. At GE, we have a strong maternity leave policy and have also introduced an extended paternity leave, which further contributes to achieving gender parity. We support our team with flexible working models, which has become even more important in our world today as more men and women work from home and have new responsibilities to juggle. We have also instituted a ‘return to career’ program that focuses on bringing women back to the workforce after an extended absence.”
Khadija Khalifa, senior director of Commercial & Sponsorship, Global Village, said that International Women’s Day is an opportunity to applaud the achievements of women across the UAE and beyond. “Here in Global Village, we have a deep-rooted belief in diversity and a mission to bring extraordinary people from around the globe to redefine how we experience culture. I am proud of the platform we have built that empowers women entrepreneurs from all walks of life to flourish as part of our thriving business ecosystem. I also speak as a proud Emirati woman, honoured to play my part in the increasingly inclusive society we are building in the UAE. Together with my colleagues, both male and female, I will strive to support and enable the many talented and passionate women who are part of the Global Village family.”
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