UAE is a leader in creating an inclusive society, women say
The recent introduction of parental leave in the private sector, as well as law stipulations for equal wage for equal work, and having women on the boards of companies, all signal the UAE leadership’s commitment to women advancement
The UAE is a top pick for many women looking to launch their businesses and expand their careers, thanks to the country’s drive towards creating an inclusive society with equal opportunities for working women across different sectors.
Maya El Hachem, MD and partner, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), noted that to truly advance gender balance and women empowerment in the workplace, all stakeholders have a role to play: women themselves, the private sector, and governments.
“Increasingly today, we see women investing more in their careers, being vocal about challenges they face and demanding actions,” she said. “They are also actively working on their personal development whether through formal learning methods or in the form of coaching and mentorship from others. This has led them to become mentors themselves to support other women, thus creating a network effect that is accelerating the overall progress.”
Many companies, she said, also aim to create favorable working conditions for women, through focusing on different levers to attract, retain and advance them. This includes measures like, introducing flexible work options, and tracking and maintaining representative women recruiting and promotion rates.
“Governments are also working on increasing women’s participation in the labor market and reducing the barriers to achieve that. In the region, the UAE is a great example, especially thanks to the senior female Emirati role models. Also, the recent introduction of parental leave in the private sector, as well as law stipulations for equal wage for equal work, and having women on boards of companies, all signal the leadership’s commitment to women advancement,” she said.
Speaking on the celebrations for International Women’s Day, Lara Yousuf, partner manager at Mimecast, called on women to reflect on the sacrifices made by the women of the past and highlight the progress they’ve made on matters such as gender discrimination, pay gap, and equal opportunity.
“But, this day is to also celebrate the strong and inspiring women of today who continue to raise awareness, fight the status quo, challenge stereotypes and find balance between work and home. This has never been truer than with Covid-19, which has meant many women have had to dedicate a lot more time to family care and domestic chores, directly impacting job and education opportunities,” she said.
She added that she was delighted with this year’s theme of #ChooseToChallenge because it encourages change at an individual level. “As members of this society, parents and activists we have a responsibility to broaden horizons, challenge stereotypes, and work towards the change we hope to see. That is something we see engrained in UAE’s culture and educational system. This country is a leader in creating a more inclusive society, in celebrating female leadership and empowering them to play a bigger and more influential role in society, politics and economics.”
“We strongly believe that companies should create opportunities for women to succeed in male-dominated jobs,” said
Ayca Demiran, HR manager at Hadaf Foods Industries, added that it is imperative that companies acknowledge the presence of unconscious bias. “They should also grasp the reality that biases can, and do, impact decision making. Gender parity starts with fostering a culture that empowers women through encouraging peer support, provision of opportunities and advocacy of role models. This all culminates in the creation of an environment where women not only work, but thrive.”
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