Thursday 09, March 2017 by Jessica Combes

Dubai Business Women Council address workplace gender imbalance

Dubai Business Women’s Council (DBWC) joined the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UWOD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to address varying business strategies to increase female workforce engagement as part of sustainable economies.

The forum, a milestone in the UAE’s drive to lead the region in improving gender balance, was opened by HE Dr Raja Al Gurg, President, DWBC. “The UAE is a nation committed to providing equal opportunities to enable women to play a lead role in contributing to the country’s development. It is only when the contributions of both men and women valued equally that we can achieve a brighter future, full of ideas with input from across society,” she said.

Al Gurg gave practical examples of how women can be more proactive in creating their own opportunities, asking why women feel the need to wait for men to set the path for their leadership. “Know yourself. Have a vision for your life. Value your time. Women must control their dignity. Don’t be too good for something and don’t sell yourself short,” she said.

She cited an example where she was due to interview a gentleman for a position within her company and he was 45 minutes late. Once he arrived, she kept him waiting for 45 minutes, and then instructed her assistant to tell him he was dismissed before even being hired.

While the forum shed light on the UAE’s proven success in inclusive organisational cultures, it pointed to severe inequality and a pay gap within the international labour market. The World Economic Forum estimates it will take 117 years to close the gender gap, and globally women are paid 24 per cent less than men.

“Gender equality is a human right and the world cannot afford not to get talent from 50 per cent of its population,” said Frode Mauring, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative.

From focusing on the cultural values that empower women, to advocating gender parity, and highlighting the importance of women’s empowerment in national progress, the forum called on business and society to challenge gender distinctions in every-day life.

  

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