UAE business leaders commit to gender parity, praise nation’s achievements in women empowerment

Dubai - The accomplishments of women in the UAE in all walks of life – from space research to working on the frontlines of the fight against Covid – demonstrate the significant strides the nation has made in achieving gender parity.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, ‘Choose to Challenge’ reflects the UAE’s approach to empowering women.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, ‘Choose to Challenge’ reflects the UAE’s approach to empowering women.

Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Mon 8 Mar 2021, 5:16 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Mar 2021, 7:27 PM

Celebrating the International Women’s Day, business leaders in the UAE have committed to further promoting gender parity at the work place. Praising the enabling growth environment of the nation and the leadership’s commitment to women empowerment, they said the UAE has set a benchmark in nurturing the skills of women and in inspiring them to play a strong role in nation-building.

Dr. Dalya al Muthanna, President, UAE and Global Chief of Strategy & Operations, GE International Markets

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, ‘Choose to Challenge’ reflects the UAE’s approach to empowering women: Inspiring them to challenge themselves and prove their mettle with the support of the nation’s enabling environment. The accomplishments of women in the UAE in all walks of life – from space research to working on the frontlines of the fight against Covid – demonstrate the significant strides the nation has made in achieving gender parity.

Abeer Alshaali, deputy managing director of Gulf Craft

The UAE leadership’s focus on driving gender equality and providing opportunities for women at both ministerial and board positions highlights the long-term outlook of the UAE to empower women in leadership roles. The heritage of our nation is rooted in strong women, whether along the coast where men would be out at sea for months at a time or on land in the harsh desert climate. The current focus on women participating across all levels in the private and public sector is a natural continuation of the role they have always played. The many women who served as frontline workers during the pandemic is particularly noteworthy, making a key contribution to our nation’s continued recovery.

Samia Kanawati, Area PR and Communications Lead (Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) Allergan Aesthetics
As we reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of women and girls on International Women’s Day, I feel truly blessed to be living in a country that intrinsically values women. The United Arab Emirates has provided women with the supportive and motivational environment to strive towards their ambitions and career aspirations, as we continue to advance gender parity in the workplace, in our homes, and our wider community.

Maysoun Ramadan, Head of People, Culture and Corporate Communications, Roche Diagnostics Middle East FZCO

2021 is set to be a year of hope and milestones, particularly for women and gender equity. As we continue to face the burdens and implications of Covid-19, women and girls across the region have remained resilient in this unpredictable and pivotal time. In the past decade, we have seen remarkable progress on achieving gender equality in the workplace, which has now reached 30 per cent at Roche Diagnostics Middle East.

Olfat Berro, Head Area Middle East, Roche Pharmaceuticals FZCO

In our workplace, communities, and homes, everyone has a critical role to play in making a real and lasting change in gender equality. I encourage men and women to recognize and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and continue to strive for progress in equality so we can all empower one another and ultimately reach our full potential.

Benedetta Ghione, Executive Director Art Dubai

Art Dubai is proud to champion diversity in all its forms, not only do we strive for gender diversity but also for a presentation including the varied geographies which the fair promotes. This year Art Dubai has had to adapt and innovate considerably in order to realise a physical fair, we felt a keen responsibility to support our community and the cultural sector through these challenging times and we recognize the unique platform that we have to bring communities together and to offer the great privilege of seeing art in person.

Hanadi Khalife, Senior Director – Middle East and India Operations, IMA.

We’ve proven that flexible and remote working is possible to achieve business continuity during the most difficult of times, now we just need to put this into long-term practice, enabling more women to have successful careers without sacrificing their personal lives.

Carine Mouchantaf Neill – Head of Marketing and Sales, IMKAN Properties

On International Women’s Day, IMKAN is celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while also making a call for action to strengthen gender equality, and accelerating women empowerment in the industry. At IMKAN, we pride ourselves on having a strong female employee demographic of passionate executives who are contributing to the rapid evolution and growing prominence of this nation’s vibrant property development scene. We strive to respect and hear every voice, ensuring that all our employees have equal access to opportunities regardless of their background.

Yota Baron, Finance Director, Ford Direct Markets

We all have a voice and we need to have the courage to use it, as well as listen to others to influence change. Now is the time to be brave and bring the conversation into practical day to day situations encouraging inclusion.

Najla Al Midfa, chief executive of Sheraa

At Sheraa, we believe supporting female entrepreneurs is key to rebuilding the post-Covid economy and we are proud that 50 per cent of our startups are led by women. Globally, women-founded businesses have been found to ultimately deliver higher revenue—more than twice as much per dollar invested, making women-owned companies better investments. International women’s day is our opportunity to celebrate female changemakers, and to highlight their resilience and tenacity. We pledge to continue to support women entrepreneurs as they forge new paths and secure a brighter future for all of us.

Zanubia Shams – Co-Chairperson, Zulekha Hospital Group

Historically women are enduring and winning in business, striking the right balance between personal and professional commitments. The courage and passion women exhibit in decision making differentiates them. Therefore, organisations increasingly encourage employment of women across levels in their own interest and for a better tomorrow. 60 per cent of our staff includes women across teams and in senior management positions. As frontline workers they have made us proud by prioritising the pain of the patients over and above their own lives and extended relentless support to those in need. We admire their resilience. With such brave hearts, every business is bound to progress.

Priyanka Mittal, Director, India Gate KRBL

2020 was a challenging year and has taught us to think outside the box and challenge conventions. As women, we are fighting these trying times with our natural strengths of empathy, collaboration, insight and sensitive immersion. Women are resetting the equations by moving beyond Safety and Equality towards Equilibrium, Fairness and Equity in Relationships, at Workplace and at Home. By challenging the unfair, everything that restrains, restricts and removes women from discourse, discussion, decision, women are leading the charge towards a brighter 2021. #IChoosetoChallenge

Latika Vieira, Head of Marketing, Kaya Skin Clinics Middle East

2020 has been the most challenging year for everyone the world over. We’ve had to adapt to a completely new normal — work from home, restricted social access, new ways of doing business, exploring different revenue streams — and all of this while ensuring that people felt safe, secure and stable — emotionally, mentally and financially. Our business environment offers one of the most supportive and inclusive workplaces in the UAE and the region.

Zainab Kufaishi, Head of Middle East and Africa, Invesco

Women’s equal participation in the workforce isn’t only the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. In order for our regional and global economies to grow sustainably, we must garner the talents and full potential of half of our populations. This is in addition to the diversity of thought that we all benefit from by having an inclusive and thriving workforce.

Nisha Chandy Kumar, COO, market-i research services & consultancy

Everything that the UAE does to strengthen its global footprint, only adds to my conviction to succeed and as a Woman in Business that will continue to be at the center of my growth philosophy. A wife, a homemaker, a daughter, a sister, a career woman, a Mom, the Boss – these multiple roles mean resilience, grit and conviction come naturally to women.

Irada Aghamaliyeva, EY Mena Diversity and Inclusiveness Leader

In the UAE, we saw many female-led businesses and initiatives adjust their operating models and offerings during the pandemic to accommodate the limitations that other women were facing on a day-to-day basis. This sense of support and resilience is inspiring to the local business community and will help promote long-term growth and prosperity. At EY, we are committed to empowering women at all levels in order gain diverse perspectives that will help us deliver a better working world.

Claire Micheletti, Managing Director of Cosmopole

While 2020 was a very difficult year on all fronts — mentally, physically, businesswise — as a business, we pulled through thanks to the support of our female work colleagues. 2021 is shaping up to be a year full of hope and optimism. With the vaccine roll out well under way in the UAE thanks to our incredible leadership and Expo on the horizon, there’s a great energy in the air. If 2020 was about survival, 2021 is about learning to thrive again.

Lt Kazi Gulshan Ara, Founder and Chairperson of Aydin Group of Companies

Once the current pandemic subsides, businesses and organisations run by women will shine in 2021 and 2022. I am working with a number of businesses run by women and I can see them emerge stronger from this crises!

Virginie Hollebecque, Managing Director for Western Europe and Middle East at Ciena

As an industry, we are starting to acknowledge the need for more diversity and inclusion and we seeing some leaders and organisations making a push and bringing change to address this. I firmly believe that everyone should be able to pursue a career where they feel valued and included. Having a diverse workforce brings new ideas, experiences and different ways of thinking, all of which will help organisations to grow and leverage innovation. We need to change our traditional ways of thinking and hire people with different views, backgrounds and experiences if we are to truly create new and innovative approaches. —

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