UAE business leaders commit to gender parity and praise nation’s achievements in women empowerment

Dr. Dalya al Muthanna, President, UAE and Global Chief of Strategy & Operations, GE International Markets

Dubai, UAE: Celebrating the International Women’s Day, business leaders in the UAE have committed to further promoting gender parity at the work place. Praising the enabling growth environment of the nation and the leadership’s commitment to women empowerment, they said the UAE has set a benchmark in nurturing the skills of women and in inspiring them to play a strong role in nation-building. 

“The UAE leadership’s focus on driving gender equality and providing opportunities for women at both ministerial and board positions highlights the long-term outlook of the UAE to empower women in leadership roles,” said Abeer Alshaali, Deputy Managing Director of Gulf Craft. “The heritage of our nation is rooted in strong women, whether along the coast where men would be out at sea for months at a time or on land in the harsh desert climate. The current focus on women participating across all levels in the private and public sector is a natural continuation of the role they have always played. The many women who served as frontline workers during the pandemic is particularly noteworthy, making a key contribution to our nation’s continued recovery.

“It is encouraging to see the spotlight being shone on the challenges that women face daily in the workforce more than ever before. Personally, I aim to continue the dialogue at every opportunity. Along the path of increased communication, we will inevitably drive forward and empower women. By strengthening their participation across all sectors, including ones where they have not traditionally had much representation, we are sure to see a more equitable and sustainable society.” 

“With over 30 per cent of leadership roles in our Middle East office held by women, we at Roche Diagnostics Middle East are committed in doing our part to continue building a growing community of men and women committed to taking action against gender bias and towards greater inclusion,” said Harald Wolf, General Manager, Roche Diagnostics Middle East FZCO. “As we reflect on the global efforts made towards accelerating the timeline on gender equality, it is important to realize that everyone benefits from a more gender-equal world, and that women’s empowerment ultimately boosts economic productivity, growth, diversification, and social development. Men also have a fundamental role to play on the journey towards egalitarianism and gender parity, and we encourage them to pledge their commitment to supporting women to reach their full potential, now and for generations to come.”

Dr. Dalya al Muthanna, President, UAE and Global Chief of Strategy & Operations, GE International Markets said “The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, ‘Choose to Challenge’ reflects the UAE’s approach to empowering women: Inspiring them to challenge themselves and prove their mettle with the support of the nation’s enabling environment. The accomplishments of women in the UAE in all walks of life – from space research to working on the frontlines of the fight against COVID – demonstrate the significant strides the nation has made in achieving gender parity. Of course, there are gaps to be addressed, such as the need to promote STEM education among girls and upskilling women in the workforce on advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning. Our task, as we prepare for the Centennial 2071, is continue to provide women with role models who can inspire upcoming generations of women to realize their true potential. From my own experience at GE, I can say with confidence that the opportunities before women to progress and excel in the UAE are tremendous. The commitment of our leadership is the driving force we will all follow as we strive for an ever more empowered society.”

Samia Kanawati, Area PR and Communications Lead (Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) Allergan Aesthetics, an AbbVie company, said “As we reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of women and girls on International Women’s Day, I feel truly blessed to be living in a country that intrinsically values women. The United Arab Emirates has provided women with the supportive and motivational environment to strive towards their ambitions and career aspirations, as we continue to advance gender parity in the workplace, in our homes, and our wider community. Women in leadership across the Middle East are making a significant impact in their communities, and this particularly applies to the STEM field where women are being better represented. In fact, according to UNESCO, 34-57% of STEM graduate in the Arab world are women. As the world continues to face the adversities brought about by the current pandemic, women and girls worldwide have proven their natural talents and resilience as they continue to successfully balance out family commitments and home schooling with their full-time jobs. A gender equal world is a better world for everybody so let us continue to empower women across the region in our efforts to achieve lasting change.” 

Maysoun Ramadan, Head of People, Culture and Corporate Communications, Roche Diagnostics Middle East FZCO, added: “2021 is set to be a year of hope and milestones, particularly for women and gender equity. As we continue to face the burdens and implications of COVID-19, women and girls across the region have remained resilient in this unpredictable and pivotal time. In the past decade, we have seen remarkable progress on achieving gender equality in the workplace, which has now reached 30% at Roche Diagnostics Middle East. 

“Women are better represented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with 34-57% of STEM graduates in Arab countries being women according to UNESCO. We are at a critical point to continue building a collaborative and supportive network throughout the Middle East and the world that is inclusive and helps empower women to maximize their talent and ambitions at whatever stage in their life,” said Maysoun. 

“Gender equality is at the heart of everything we do at Roche Pharmaceuticals, and we are committed to our efforts in continuing to advance equality and break the barriers experienced by women across the region,” said Olfat Berro, Head Area Middle East, Roche Pharmaceuticals FZCO. “In our workplace, communities, and homes, everyone has a critical role to play in making a real and lasting change in gender equality. I encourage men and women to recognize and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and continue to strive for progress in equality so we can all empower one another and ultimately reach our full potential.” 

Benedetta Ghione, Executive Director Art Dubai, added “Art Dubai is proud to champion diversity in all its forms, not only do we strive for gender diversity but also for a presentation including the varied geographies which the fair promotes. This year Art Dubai has had to adapt and innovate considerably in order to realise a physical fair, we felt a keen responsibility to support our community and the cultural sector through these challenging times and we recognize the unique platform that we have to bring communities together and to offer the great privilege of seeing art in person.

Hala Khayat, Regional Director Art Dubai, said: “As an Arab woman working in the art field for over 15 years, I am fortunate to have never experienced a difference in behavior towards my work, or been afforded or limited opportunities because of my gender. I have only been encouraged to express my opinion and to achieve my goals. I am proud to work at Art Dubai in a leadership position where I can give other woman a platform and a voice to share their artistic talent. At Art Dubai, we play a pivotal role in the continued cultural development of the region and, of course, ensuring female empowerment and equality is vital to this.”

“If the past year has taught us anything, it is that we are more resilient and capable of change than we ever imagined. There has been a tangible shift throughout the world, especially in businesses – and my hope is that we can take the lessons learnt during the pandemic to create more empowering workplaces that help us to overcome the leaky pipeline,” observed Hanadi Khalife, Senior Director – Middle East and India Operations, IMA. “ We’ve proven that flexible and remote working is possible to achieve business continuity during the most difficult of times, now we just need to put this into long-term practice, enabling more women to have successful careers without sacrificing their personal lives.” 

Carine Mouchantaf Neill – Head of Marketing and Sales, IMKAN Properties, said “On International Women’s Day, IMKAN is celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while also making a call for action to strengthen gender equality, and accelerating women empowerment in the industry. At IMKAN, we pride ourselves on having a strong female employee demographic of passionate executives who are contributing to the rapid evolution and growing prominence of this nation’s vibrant property development scene. We strive to respect and hear every voice, ensuring that all our employees have equal access to opportunities regardless of their background. Although the pandemic has been a particularly challenging time for all industries, we are proud of IMKAN’s female employees who are committed to excellence in the work place, all the while juggling personal and professional priorities. Aided by the UAE government’s commitment to empower women and provide them with equal opportunities, the status of women in the UAE has never been stronger as we continue to actively contribute to the country’s governance and the economy.”

Luanne Parker – Director, Business Development Officer, IMKAN Properties, added“To me International Women’s Day is a time for females to reflect on yesterday’s achievements and tomorrow’s ambitions. It is an opportunity for women to come together and celebrate progress whilst challenging the norms to make our workplaces equal. At IMKAN, we put great emphasis on creating an inclusive culture where we value the contributions of each and every individual to help us meet our company’s goals. As Director, Business Development Officer, I am proud to be part of a workplace that employs women at senior positions, and I believe that women in leadership roles is becoming the norm. Given challenges of the past year, we want to celebrate and thank the UAE’s female leaders and women’s organizations who have demonstrated their skills, knowledge and networks to effectively lead in the country’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Today there is more acceptance than ever before towards the fact that women bring different experiences, ideas and perspectives to the table and make invaluable contributions to decisions, policies and laws that support the community as a whole.”

Yota Baron, Finance Director, Ford Direct Markets, said “I have worked for Ford for 31 years across a variety of roles and regions. International Woman’s day gives us the opportunity to honor the women that have achieved so much before us and the women who inspire us for the future. It is a day to focus on and challenge women’s issues and create wider understanding, especially when it comes to equal education and work opportunities, violence against woman and girls, and, bias and inequality in the work place and in communities. We can all challenge ourselves and others to recognize our own bias and grow equal opportunities for women. We all have a voice and we need to have the courage to use it, as well as listen to others to influence change. Now is the time to be brave and bring the conversation into practical day to day situations encouraging inclusion. Ford has created a thriving environment that encourages diversity and inclusion. As a leader in our business it is my duty to lead the charge and support the upcoming next generation, break down barriers and create opportunities for women to be the best they can be.”