This fast paced world can be a little too fast at times, causing you to miss some of life’s greatest and accomplishments. As International Women’s Day approaches, we decided to slow it down just enough for us to absorb the positive changes happening around us. You could be attending multiple networking functions, women related events and workshops, and engaging in numerous activities supporting women empowerment; however, have you stopped for a second to take a step back and realize the scope of that change?
We have gathered our Partners and unified our voices to show each and every Executive-Woman how far we alone have come, Now imagine the joint impact of every woman association, club and event around the globe. This is what we are celebrating this month. The steps we have taken and the steps we have yet to take towards a brighter future and a better world.
Read the whys, the hows and the thoughts of our Strategic Partners on the topic of women empowerment!
- Can you tell us how and why you empower women through your activities as an organization?
- Do you think that facilitating the long-term employment of mothers could have a monetary return on investment in the GCC?
- What message would you like to share with the Executive-Women community?
HANANE BENKHALOUK & AMEL MURPHY – CO-FOUNDER OF SUSTAIN LEADERSHIP CONSULTANCY
- It is the other way around for us, at Sustain Leadership Consultancy, we aim at empowering organizations and the community with women, with our integrated female talent development and advancement solutions, as well as our variety of safe spaces such as the lean in circle, the Link mentoring scheme, SANAD female entrepreneurs incubation services, who all aim at advancing business and society through gender balance.
- McKinsey Global Institute report suggested that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality, so definitely this applies to the GCC, not only economically, but also socially.
- Let’s step it up and make it a community of collaboration and co-creation, to reinforce that gender balance is not a women’s right, it is the right thing for a sustainable future.
KAREN THORNALLEY – FOUNDER OF EXPAT BUSINESS WOMEN
- By facilitating the employment of women and giving equal opportunities in the company. We offer sales, development, office skills, accountancy, content writing and many other opportunities to women presently and they all work as a team to offer fresh ideas and enable the company to look outside of the box.
- Yes I do, women with children I see want to work shorter hours. This gives the company an opportunity to employ more like-minded women and provides a wider scale of skills and expertise. I believe the company can grow faster with these opportunities.
- When you have a skill, find companies to work with that will help you learn more and encourage you. Open your horizons and pass your skills to others. If you are unhappy with your environment or your line of work, re-think your status and make a change. You spend many hours working and It is important to enjoy life to the fullest especially when it comes to your career.
MONA TAVASSOLI – FOUNDER OF MOMPRENUERS MIDDLE EAST
- At Mompreneurs Middle East, we believe that empowered mothers raise empowered children, and they are our future leaders. We empower mothers through entrepreneurial education and mompreneurship.Our activities include a two-month entrepreneurship course called Mompreneur Rising. We also organize many networking events and educational sessions for the community.Every year, we also organize the Global Mentoring Walk, which is an initiative by Vital Voices in the US. We match mentors and mentees together and they walk for an hour to discuss entrepreneurship challenges and opportunities in the region.
- Motherhood develops many skills, which can be used in life and in the workplace, including patience, creativity, intuition, problem solving and more. These traits can be used for the development of any organization and having more mothers in a team, can definitely be a big advantage to any organization.Within the GCC, mothers are a very capable, well-educated and talented section of the workforce, which are an untapped resource. They have usually put their own careers on hold to focus on family, but given the opportunity, they can be extremely beneficial members for any organization.However, the old “9-to-5” style of working hours is not designed for mothers, they need more flexibility and freedom in order to manage between their personal and professional lives and work.Employing mothers also brings a lot of short term benefits to organizations such as employee retention, loyalty and employee satisfaction which may not be monetary return on investment in the short run, but definitely make a large impact in the long run.
- Running a successful business and a happy family is not a zero sum game with the right education and support group. The most important thing that working women can have on their side is great support group. There are many support groups available in Dubai and Executive Women is also a very powerful community of women who support each other.Remember: you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, so choose your community wisely.
Monika Papadopoulou | Community Relations Manager at Potential
- On average, 50% of the population anywhere is comprised of women; however, in just about every country in the world women represent a significantly lower percentage in the workplace. We believe that has a negative impact on societies, families and on the productivity of that country. Our aim through our women empowerment programs is to change these numbers and tackle the root cause of the problem. Through a combination of awareness building, training-and-development and showcasing we have been able to engage tens of thousands of talented women and have them either startup their businesses or obtain better career opportunities.
- Of course it would, there was a study last year that the global GDP increase through the better participation of women could result in and additional 12 trillion dollars in global GDP. Of course the return in the GCC would also be of the same proportion. By engaging more women in the workplace they would earn more and be able to spend more, eventually growing the economy significantly. They could create innovative businesses and contribute to innovations within businesses that would help these companies compete internationally.
- Find your passion and work towards taking that passion to the next level. Be confident, believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Roos Dhunjibhoy Meyers – Founder of PIKAIA WOMEN
- Pikaia Women was born with the belief that there had to be more women out there with a similar mentality to mine. Managing my own money became an immense learning process and a very beneficial one. Too often, I hear women leaving their finances to others, and that leaves them vulnerable to unfamiliar circumstances and independance. I started to blog in order to inspire women to learn about finance, investments and professional success strategies. I felt the way to give back was to share my experiences and acquired knowledge. This how the Pikaia Women Movement came into existence. The pikaia way is for women to share their stories and findings in inspire others, a gift of knowledge to be passed to others. Currently, I have expanded my support through Pikaia Angels, which provides seed capital for women or women focused intitiatives and their startups.
- I am a firm believer of the increased produtivity of women in the workplace. Economic participation can have so many benificial effects on the entire family and its community. Women tend to manage their money well and make better returns in their ventures with less capital investment. I feel that women can be a great source of return for the society and economy in the GCC.
- Love yourself, take charge of your dreams, career and fianacial wellbeing. This is a daily commitment that adds to your quality of life.
TAMARA HOSTAL- CO-FOUNDER OF ESMOD DUBAI- THE FRENCH FASHION INSTITUTE
- First of all, the fashion industry offers women comfort, liberty and flexibility when it comes to both their creativity and timing. In ESMOD Dubai, the French Fashion Institute, we try to adopt these characteristics by proposing short term courses and programs with a duration of either 3, 6 or 12 months. This offer flexibility to both mothers and working women looking to venture further and explore their artistic side. We also offer flexible timings for courses that could be adopted by either full time mothers or full time employees.
Sometimes, they actually change their professional career and end up in the fashion industry. It is beautiful to see how some women, given the opportunity, are able to explore and follow the passion regardless of what age. This is why we have specific program for women who decide to venture into or even revert back to an artistic career.
2. Of course, the long-term employment of women eventually contributes to their financial status and spending behavior. As women control Household spending this will increase their spending, as there will be more financial comfort. In addition, an increase in employment means a greater demand for education and will eventually drive productivity in the economy in the long term and will increase the standard of living for future generations.
3. Never stop educating yourself; you can never gain enough knowledge or experience. For those looking to venture into the Fashion industry, there are many opportunities out there, from designing to marketing to pattern making, there is always more room for dynamic and educated women in fashion. Just know this, it is never too late to follow your dream.
SARAH DONG- EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT CEO CLUBS NETWORK
- Women play a key role in our society in terms of empowering the people around them including their children, husbands and the rest of their families. CEO Clubs-Business Women division not only creates a space that allows women to discuss their dreams and ideas, but also facilitates them and allows them to growth on both a personal and professional level.
- The best example to me is the author of Harry Potter. A mother that was struggling both financially and emotionally, but managed to break through these barriers and develop one of the greatest most innovative novel series of our time. Mothers have a set of special strengths gained from their experiences. There is grand space to grow or develop in the GCC; we are heading there step by step, utilizing emerging technologies for better results and inclusion.
- Trust yourself, keep learning and assisting others, love yourself and create a unique lifestyle that will fulfill your dreams.
DINA HASHIM- ZABEEL LADIES CLUB
- In accordance with the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Roudha Bint Ahmad Bin Juma Al Maktoum, President of Zabeel Ladies Club, we provide an exceptionally inspiring social environment for today’s seekers of excellence. Empowering women and bringing out the best in them is a priority when it comes to our goals as an organization; we do so by providing health, fitness, beauty, culture and art oriented services. As per the old saying “A sound mind is in a sound body”. The more we enhance our health and fitness lifestyle, the better and sounder decisions we can make, which is the key to achieving a happy and balanced life.
- Mothers are great business treasures, being responsible towards their children and family should not be an obstacle in a woman’s career and self-accomplishment. I personally would support time-management solutions to help mothers achieve their professional dreams. Lately, housewives in the region have demonstrated a great market share through small businesses marketed on social media channels like Instagram, and they are very successful. Imagine the entire mother force being utilized efficiently in the labor market whether as entrepreneurs or executives. Yes, it will definitely reflect positively as a return on investment in the GCC region.
- Trust your strengths, believe in your powers. A woman’s mind can be sharp and creative, polish your ideas, innovate, and express your mind loudly no matter how odd the idea might seem in the beginning. Support each other and take a step every single day towards your dreams and do not forget to enjoy your life throughout the whole journey.
Rania Nseir, Director – Business Development& CSR, Bayt.com
- When it comes to empowering women, we are very proud of our equal opportunity practices. Women are employed at Bayt.com across all roles and departments. Our top management and executive board has a healthy gender ratio. Our disciplined system of regular monthly, quarterly and annual appraisals is designed to ensure that there is always place for great people, regardless of their gender, to climb up the ladder at Bayt.com.
Bayt.com has very strict anti-discrimination policies to protect applicants and employees. Applicants are only recruited based on their skills. There is no discrimination based on race, age, color, gender, religion, or national origin.
Even beyond our internal hiring and promotion protocols, we always aim to empower people in the region. That being said, we also regularly dedicate part of our research and data for women such as The Bayt.com Working Women in the Middle East and North Africa Survey. This is done to make sure that women have an equal opportunity for thriving in the workplace and leading the lifestyle they desire.
2. Most definitely. In fact, 7 in 10 women surveyed in The Bayt.com Working Women in the Middle East and North Africa Survey said that their decision to have children has affected their career, at least to some extent. The survey also showed that only 8% of women working in the Middle East are satisfied with their company’s maternity leave policy. So employers may want to focus on how they can enhance such policies. This process starts by working collaboratively with employees, planning leaves and replacements ahead of time, opening communication among teams, and offering more flexibility for working mothers. This is to ensure their career success but also the growth and prosperity of the company at large.
3. Clarify your goals, aim high and evaluate your potential but be realistic regarding the time frame and the magnitude. Practice negotiation, this is necessary not only for negotiating benefits but increased responsibilities as well. Form more connections, foster a loyal and a mutually beneficial relationship with your co-workers, and find yourself a mentor to guide you through your journey. Get organized in all aspects of your life to provide clarity, but allow flexibility for unforeseen circumstances. Don’t neglect your appearance, not only in dressing professionally, but also in the way you carry yourself and present your ideas- be confident, calm and clear. Find the balance between giving and receiving in the workplace- go the extra mile if you have to but make sure your efforts are not being abused. Last but not least, do not relinquish. Keep on pushing, have belief in your own cap abilities regardless of the set backs you encounter. Keep on improving, and keep on learning.
Nadin Halabi, Business Development Manager
1. From supporting female representation in leadership positions, to encouraging female entrepreneurship and promoting holistic health and well-being, the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) works to support and motivate women participating across all areas of economic life.
We do this by providing Dubai’s growing community of aspirational, forward thinking and influential women with a platform for strategic education, training, development and networking opportunities that foster professional and personal development.
2. It is widely acknowledged that women have an important role to play in economic development, therefore investing in the long-term employment of mothers will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the economies of the GCC region.
As part of our mission to unlock the restraints on the full potential of women’s contribution to economic development, we plan to launch workshops and programs tailor-made for mothers planning to get back to work this year.
3. Let’s go out there and be an inspirational example to both the women and men in our lives; let’s demonstrate what it means to strive for and achieve prosperity and success.
Khawla Al Serkal – Director General Sharjah Ladies Club
- Established in 1982, Sharjah Ladies Club is a subsidiary of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and was conceived to be a space for women and girls across the UAE to gather and pursue artistic crafts, hobbies and sports in a mutually supportive environment. It was also set up to be a place where women could be empowered by receiving instructions on certain business skills and by learning new vocational activities that will help them either venture into the workplace as employees or to assist them in setting up their own concerns. SLC regularly organizes events and activities that relate to society, art, health and charity, with its activities including bazaars, exhibitions, sporting events, workshops, lectures, business seminars and work forums. Designed to offer a safe and comfortable educational and leisure space, SLC functions on many different levels as a premium destination for women’s and girls’ empowerment.
- There is overwhelming evidence that shows that when women go out to work, economies grow. A report from global human resources McKinsey & Company found that women’s economic equality is good for business, with corporations greatly benefiting from increasing leadership opportunities for women as it enhances organizational effectiveness. In fact, they estimated that companies with three or more women in senior management positions score higher in all aspects of organizational effectiveness. At SLC we work to attain this empowerment for women with the comprehensive array of business and professional skills classes we run. Of course, in order to facilitate women’s ability to undertake the roles of business leaders and effective employees in the GCC, the social infrastructure needs to be in place, as women in the region traditionally still have the ‘home-maker’ responsibility of raising the family and creating domesticity. At SLC we achieve this by ensuring that children are cared for whilst their mothers are enrolled in our courses. We operate a fully equipped crèche staffed by child care professionals, meaning that mums can concentrate on becoming the next great female entrepreneur safe in the knowledge that their little ones are being properly looked after.
- I would like to thank the members of the Executive-Women community sincerely for showing how women can successfully undertake a multitude of roles and be as equally successful as wives, mothers, employees and entrepreneurs. I would also encourage them to continue striving to make progress and to ensure that they update their skills with regular seminars such as the ones we conduct at SLC. I believe that it is important for our go-ahead women to establish programs of ongoing education and professional development, as this will equip them with the necessary attributes to continue making their mark in a dynamic economy as well as to tackle the inevitable challenges arising from change. I would encourage them to have self-belief, to seek mentoring and assistance and to never give up. I truly believe that every woman has it within her to break the glass ceiling, so ultimately, my message to all women everywhere is that there are no limits to what they can achieve.