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UAE supports gender equality at workplace

Rohma Sadaqat /Dubai
rohma@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 4, 2019
UAE supports gender equality at workplace
The UAE has rolled out various initiatives to improve equality and diversity.

The UAE has successfully managed to create the right environment that helps women.

The UAE has made great strides over the past few years in supporting diversity and gender equality in the workplace, led by the efforts of the UAE government and the Gender Balance Council, experts said.

"The UAE is home to over 200 nationalities living in perfect harmony, and the country is also at the forefront of promoting women empowerment in the GCC," said Sidh NC, director of QNA International. "The UAE is headed in the right direction and has successfully managed to create the right environment that helps women choose their education path and then pursue a career."

However, he added that there are still some challenges that the country has to overcome. "Getting more women into the boardroom remains a persistent challenge for many businesses, and the UAE has made a headway through legislation. Through a series of public and private sector initiatives, women are playing an increasingly stronger role in business, the military and government. Also, the concept of flexible working - allowing employees to work at home or in other locations to maximise efficiency and promote work-life balance - has also proved to be transformational for many businesses in the region."

Louise Karim, managing director at Mums@Work, also highlighted how businesses can, and are, working towards supporting more women in the workplace from flexible working to inclusive leadership and culture, to equal pay and the removal of the motherhood penalty. With this kind of support in place, businesses will be able to attract and retain female talent as they progress to senior leadership, she said.

"Companies are now looking for a number of female candidates taken forward to shortlist for the same roles as their male counterparts. However, it's important to recognise this is not a numbers game; it's based on quality, which makes the recruiters job even harder as they need to find the right female talent and attract them to a business," she added.

"Businesses are continuously looking to build their female talent pipelines and putting in processes such as mentorship, equal pay, and flexibility all support this. Finally, a hot topic with HR leads at the moment is paternity leave, something which we are seeing multinationals globally place emphasis on. Paternity leave is important not only to give fathers a chance to bond with their babies, but it also supports the progression of females in the workplace as the early parenting years are then not the sole responsibility of the mother."

Alexis Lecanuet, regional managing director for Accenture in the Middle East & Turkey, said that having realised that gender equality and diversity has a significant boost to GDP growth, create jobs and encourage societal cohesion, the UAE has rolled out various initiatives to improve equality and diversity. "By doing so, the country can tap into untouched talent pools and increase innovation, while boosting the economy. For example, the launch of a Gender Balance Council in 2017 played a significant role in furthering the role of Emirati women in society. A royal directive was also issued stating that the Federal National Council must have 50 per cent female representation."

Mohamed Al Maskari, director of Government Affairs, Al Maskari Holding, believed that tackling diversity and gender equality requires a multilateral approach. "It is important to convene working groups with an open dialogue around the systemic issues so that everyone is aligned on the challenges, even those subconscious biases that we don't even realise prejudice some against women or minorities." - rohma@khaleejtimes.com

author

Rohma Sadaqat

I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.


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