“Balance for Better” Book … An Inspiring Journey with Women Leaders Towards Gender Equality
Tuesday, 30 July, 2019
Under the title “Balance for Better”, this outstanding book, has showcased realistic leadership experiences for 19 businesswomen in Dubai, who spoke about their professional experiences and the gender equality efforts within the business environment. The book which was recently issued by the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) collaboratively with the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) and the United Nations (UN), is an outcome of extensive research led byProfessor (Dr) Payyazhi Jayashree, Acting Dean, and Associate Dean (Education), University of Wollongong in Dubai, as part of the DBWC- UOWD-UN Research collaboration In view of the diversity of cultures and Dubai’ business environment elements, the book has featured women from different nationalities who took Dubai as their dream destination in the business environment including; Emirati, Saudi, Bahraini, Jordanian, British, Lebanese, Moroccan, Sudanese, Danish, Pakistani, Egyptian, Indian and others. The book “Balance for Better” was launched on the sidelines of the forum “Inclusion, Innovation, & Sustainability: Businesses of The Future”, organized recently by the DBWC, UOWD, and UN. The launch of the book comes in conjunction with the UAE’s efforts in gender equality in the Middle East and North Africa. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2018, the UAE is one of the first three countries in the gender equality field in the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, the UAE has made great strides in this field as stated in the last report, compared to the first Global Gender Gap Report 2006. The book “Balance for Better” showcases and celebrates the various narratives from the interviews held with women leaders, and panel discussions with Corporate Leaders that took place as part of the UOWD-DBWC-UN Women and Leadership Research and Best Practices Forums led by Prof Payyazhi Jayashree, since 2015. “Balance for Better” comprised interviews with impactful and esteemed women, who proved their leadership in the business community. These include HE Dr. Raja Easa Al Gurg, CEO of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, Lubna Qassim, Minister of First Class Foreign Ministry and International Cooperation, Saudi Dr. Dr. Heba Shatta, Aysha Al Kaabi, Head of the Programme Unit at UNDP Country Office in UAE, and other successful businesswomen in leadership positions. The women who shared their experiences in this book are coming from different industries, such as Government, educational, medical technology, banking and finance, legal, agriculture, high technology industries, and industrial sectors. Additionally, the book also highlighted the diverse vision of five male Corporate leaders from global companies operating in the region. They spoke about their institutions’ commitment to bolstering diversity and inclusion in the business environment, enhancing gender equality in the workplace and how those companies confront the challenges of integrating women to occupy leadership positions. Efforts include equitable policies of these companies to ensure gender equality in terms of providing equal opportunities in employment, and driving the change with engaged involvement from the top of the hierarchy. The businessmen included in this book are representing a number of the top global companies including; The Dow Chemical Company, Barclays Bank, General Electric, Phillips, Societe Generale, among others. “Balance for Better” book concluded that the UAE’s success as a nation is based on gender equality, which is a slogan raised by everyone and is taught in schools, universities and business environment, and its practices are very clear in different walks of life in the UAE. Furthermore, the book emphasizes the importance of the UAE’s role in realizing the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, in which, the fifth goal is stating the importance of achieving the balance between both sexes, in addition to women empowerment. The businesswomen’s experiences showcased in this book highlight the factors affecting the woman and her professional journey, as well as her contribution to the economy based on her experience in leadership positions. The book included a series of recommendations supportive to women’s journey towards empowered leadership in an equitable environment These recommendations include; The need for institutional cultures that drive the mandate for inclusion and capacity building through strategic leadership at the top, the importance of confronting the stereotypical social and gendered ideas about women, adoption of business strategies based on performance and facts, the efforts towards establishing a culture of flexible work environment to address work-life balance issues, ensuring professional and personal development to develop career competencies, the easy access to mentors, experts and networks and intensified and collective efforts towards breaking the barriers for women to reach the highest professional leadership positions, including the Boardroom.