Encouraging women’s role in UAE boardrooms

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Sunaina Rana / Emirates Business

Crucial role of women in the corporate boardrooms and the importance of their say in the final decision making took the center-stage during recently held session by a Dubai-based NGO ‘Reach’ that conducted it in association with Australian Business Group in Abu Dhabi.
In a bid to promote women in business circles, Reach held panel discussions and various other events focussing on mentoring women employees, gender equality and career success.
“Our main objective is to inspire women to do more by challenging them to break through stereotypes. We are providing a platform for successful men and women to share their knowledge, expertise and experience to support and inspire those who need it the most. This is how we are contributing to facilitate gender parity especially in businesses,” said Laudy Lahdo, Member of the Board, Reach
According to reports, the UAE has been taking steps toward women empowerment; however gender equality still remains a prime concern in the region. However, the role of women in the society has evolved significantly over the past few years. Women in the region have been benefitting from the economic and social diversity and they are considered as important partners in achieving sustainable development.
“Gender divide is a reality, and is exacerbated by a number of factors including the confidence-gap, one of the most prevalent issues for women in their careers. The benefits of mentoring are far-reaching in helping to develop confidence, progress careers and deliver long term impact,” said Lahdo.
Reach organisation aims to guide and mentor new generation of female leaders from and for the Middle East to achieve continuity through a structured programme. Considering the gender parity in the UAE, the country has been very progressive with – women holding 66 percent of government positions, manage approximately 25,000 economic and commercial enterprises worth an estimated US$12.26 billion, and hold several public offices, including the recent appointment of 5 female ministers to the UAE Cabinet – there is still the need for greater diversity on boards and in corporate and private sectors.
As per 2014 WEF Global Gender Gap Index, emphasis in imparting equal access and participation in education can be the stepping stone to achieving equality. The UAE ranked first (out of a total of 142 countries) on the report’s literacy rate indicator and on its enrolment in secondary education index. The UAE also attained the highest rank in the Arab countries by achieving 43 position (out of 185 countries) in the Gender Inequality Index, section of the 2014 UN Human Development Report.

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