UAE: Middle East Women Board of Directors 2022 leads discussions on reducing gender gap, increasing representation

The one-day event included engaging keynote addresses, career-focused case studies, panel discussions and interactive workshops


Lamya Tawfik

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Published: Tue 13 Dec 2022, 8:32 PM

Leaders and decision makers from various sectors and organisations came together at the Khaleej Times' Middle East Women Board of Directors 2022 on Tuesday.

The programme included keynote addresses, career-focused case studies, panel discussions and interactive workshops.

During the one-day event, discussions were held on women’s empowerment, reducing the gender gap and building strong leadership skills amongst women. Participants also talked about increasing female representation on boards of directors and the role of executive headhunters in increasing the number of women in boardrooms.

Empowering women in leadership and the use of humour as a secret weapon in business and life were also on the agenda. The day ended with the ‘Getting on Board’ excellence award ceremony, which recognises the roles of men who actively champion and empower female board members – and who, by doing so, set an example and encourage more CEOs to support female leadership.

In her keynote presentation titled ‘Empowering women by increasing their representation on boards of directors’, Shamsa Saleh, CEO, Dubai Women Establishment and Secretary-General of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said: “In the gender balance council, we believe in engaging women leadership – not only in the board, but in all aspects of life.

The government also introduced a historical decree on women’s representation in the parliament – and the UAE is the first in the world when it comes to female engagement in parliament, which is 50 per cent.”

She added that she was optimistic, even though there are gaps when it comes to global gender equality. “According to case studies done by international organisations, we need more than 200 years to fulfil the gender gap globally – yet we are very positive.”

Poonam Chawla, co-founder of the Middle East Women Board of Directors, and head of Events and Conferences at Khaleej Times, said: “Women are wielding creativity and entrepreneurial thinking in so many ways. Today, we want to recognise women working together with strength, tenacity and courage to overcome obstacles and achieve joyful accomplishments.”

She told the audience that it might take some effort to change people’s mindsets, but that “listening to and including the viewpoints of your diverse board in a real way can bring a new perspective and new ideas to help your organisation succeed.”

Ebru Tuygun, chairwoman of the Advisory Board, Middle East Women Board of Directors, Accenture Regional CMO, said: “We believe that increasing awareness on having more women on company boards can lead to [the] improvement of the various KPIs of organisations, and also improving the community and culture we live in.”

The forum is sponsored by MOTF, BEE Concierge & Travel & Events Services, and Marriott International Luxury Brands.


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