Growing the number of females in leadership positions in the UAE’s private sector was the focus of discussion for influential businessmen and women attending a forum held at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) recently.
Organised in partnership with Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), the seminar was part of an on-going series organised to bring a National Research Foundation (NRF) funded study on women’s role in the UAE workforce to life in a way which allows men and women from across the region to add their own input to the debate and learn from the women who have so far contributed to the research.
The second in the series of game-changing seminars focused on the story of Yomna Kamel, Group Marketing Manager, Galadari Brothers Group. In conversation with Dr Payyazhi Jayashree, Acting Dean of UOWD’s Faculty of Business and Principal Investigator behind the NRF study, Ms Kamel discussed her journey from growing up in Saudi Arabia to becoming one of the MENA region’s leading marketing consultants.
Over the course of the event, Ms Kamel highlighted the mechanisms that continue to guide her in her career, how she deals with the perceived ‘glass ceiling’ in the private sector, the importance of instilling genderless concepts of leadership in the next generation and the need to allow a more balanced family lifestyle.
“We need culturally to place a priority on flexible working conditions and allow both men and women to take equal responsibility in raising children”, Ms Kamel commented during the event. “There is a glass ceiling in the private sector, which will only change with advances in cultural management. However, that doesn’t mean that women can’t succeed – they must fight harder to make themselves stand out.”
“According to the Grant Thornton Internal Business Report 2013, more women (52 per cent) than men now enrol in tertiary education. However, this has not translated to an increased representation of women in senior leadership roles and we need to explore why this is happening”, added Dr Payyazhi Jayashree, facilitator of the series.
“The UAE is ranked highest in educational attainment among 20 Arab countries (Human Development Report, 2013) and lowest in gender inequality (Human Development Report, 2013) and we believe that the opportunity to add more voices to the debate surrounding gender and leadership through events such as this seminar series will create more awareness and enable us to arrive at constructive solutions to support economic contributions of women in the UAE workforce.”
The next Women and Leadership seminar will be held at UOWD’s campus in Dubai’s Knowledge Village on Wednesday 9 December 2015 from 6pm – 8:30pm. Registration is now open at http://admissions.uowdubai.ac.ae/dbwc/. Interested parties can also visit https://www.uowdubai.ac.ae/WomenandLeadership to find out more.