25 students inspired at women empowerment session
Dubai - A female empowerment session was also conducted with two external career coaches from The Pathway Project (TPP).
About 25 female university students felt inspired and empowered to pursue their dreams at a female empowerment session held at technology services firm Robert Bosch Middle East in Dafza.
The day at the Bosch offices served to encourage female students in finding a path that works for them whether they aspire to a corporate career, a life in academia or follow any creative path. Activities on the day included a panel discussion where women in management positions at the company shared their personal experiences and success stories to inspire the students and offer different perspectives on career choices.
A female empowerment session was also conducted with two external career coaches from The Pathway Project (TPP). The female-led Dubai-based creative coaching practice focuses on providing executive leadership and career development coaching for professionals, entrepreneurs, organizations and government entities to serve the professional development needs of emerging talent in the Middle East.
Simone Beretta, Head of HR at Robert Bosch Middle East, said, "According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2015, the UAE ranked third in the MENA region for gender equality, with a female workforce participation level of 47 per cent. We want to encourage this and help drive equality in our region."
Salma El-Shurafa, founder and executive coach at TPP, who co-hosted the session on female empowerment in a corporate environment on the day, said: "It's important to set goals. In our experience, the biggest hurdle that stands in the way of women when it comes to achieving their goals is self-doubt, which can lead to a lack of confidence. No one really stands in our way other than ourselves, so we encourage women to take charge, listen to their gut instincts and step into what they believe with courage."
Robert Bosch Middle East's recruitment policy actively takes gender balance into account, and Bosch employees are given opportunities to balance their work and personal lives through flexible working hours, options to work from home, and a flexible day off.
To encourage women to continue their professional development after childbirth, Bosch offers 14 weeks' maternity leave with full pay, as well as part-time options to work 75 per cent with full pay, or 50 percent with 66 percent pay, for 18 months after childbirth.
Veronique Ademar, partner and executive coach at TPP and co-host of the empowerment session, added, "Studies have shown that having empowered employees lowers staff turnover as it creates a higher level of satisfaction and loyalty. Empowered employees have more pride in what they do, which improves their productivity and quality of work. Overall, having an empowered workforce has a definite impact on performance and morale."
Paris Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, Studying Physics
"My favorite success story of a marketing assistant Zain Dakhel's who came from an engineering background but shifted to marketing. She's made a transition that I can really relate to, as I'm a Physics student who loves people. I don't want to limit myself to just thinking about science-related professions, but find a way to strike a balance between my love for Physics and my love for humans.
My definition of a strong woman comes in two words; patience and empowerment and my mom is my idol. She's an entrepreneur, and if she's able to handle a demanding career, three daughters and a household, I can do anything. Angelina Jolie also inspires me. She is strong. She has built her own opportunities, and she's making use of what she's built."
Shoug Al Sharhan
American University of RAK, Studying Business Management
"I felt empowered after today's sessions. I stepped out of my comfort zone today; I usually don't socialize and I'm quite introvert. An empowered woman to me is a woman who is confident and believes in herself.
I'm inspired by any woman who is independent and doesn't let people walk over her."
Middlesex University, Studying Management and Marketing
"My take away from the session is that we have to take risks and keep going, and that's what business is all about.
After university, I want to work at a marketing or advertising firm. I think about my two younger sisters in everything I do, because they are going to follow in my footsteps. It's a big responsibility, since I feel like I have to watch every step I take.
The biggest thing I take away from today is not doubting myself."