All around the world, there is a renewed sense that companies need to do more to increase gender equality in the workplace. The UAE is no exception. While it certainly outshines the bulk of its GCC neighbours, some 44%, of female respondents to the 2016 study for the Global Women in Leadership Economic Forum believe that women aren’t given the same opportunities as men.
In an effort to further improve things, the Gender Balance Council this year issued companies with a guide to gender equality.
There are, however, companies that are getting gender equality right without a guide book. These companies, which act as role models for others, deserve to have their efforts talked about.
So that’s exactly what we’ve decided to do.
WOMENA is a platform which aims to make investment more accessible and valuable for women entrepreneurs across the Middle East and North Africa.
As well as bringing together entrepreneurs and startups, WOMENA also hosts educational workshops that aim to empower and educate a new generation of angel investors and entrepreneurs.
If you’re interested in the women who’ll define the future of business in the UAE, WOMENA is a good place to start.
Abu Dhabi Media Company
The Abu Dhabi Media Company is the official media organisation of the Government of Abu Dhabi. It manages more than 25 brands across digital, broadcast and print.
Across those brands, it employs more than 1 800 people. While we haven’t been able find any firm numbers on what percentage of the company’s employees are female, it is worth noting that some 29% of the company’s board seats are occupied by women. That’s double the global average and nearly four times as many as the UAE average of 7.7%.
Read more: 5 UAE Companies with amazing health benefits for their staff
Another company which does well when it comes to female board representation is twofour54. Like Abu Dhabi Media Company, a larger portion than average of twofour54’s board are female.
For those not familiar with twofour54, it’s a tax-free media and entertainment free zone based in Abu Dhabi. The entity provides office space, production facilities, talent development initiatives and training, and business support services for media companies.
As well as a representative board of directors, it has a strong female management presence in the shape of CEO Maryam Al Mheiri.
Admittedly the Emirates Foundation isn’t really a company in the traditional sense of the word. That said, it is governed by many of the same principles as companies are.
According to one recent piece of analysis, the foundation’s board has more than 33% female leadership, making it one of the most representative boards in the UAE.
It also does really well when it comes to senior management, with three out of the top four positions occupied by women.
Again, it’s probably a bit of a stretch to call the Dubai Women Establishment a company, but it’s too important not to include here.
Formed in 2006, the government-mandated organisation was formed in 2006 to champion the rights of working women in Dubai. More particularly, it aims to encourage and facilitate the participation of Emirati women in the workforce and society.
Among the initiatives it’s launched are a push for childcare facilities where there are more than 50 female employees.
In a 2016 interview with chief executive Shamsa Saleh, it was revealed that more than 1 000 women had benefited from this initiative to day.
Saleh was also responsible for bringing the Middle East’s first Global Women’s Forum to Dubai in 2016. The forum was aimed at dispelling stereotypes of Arab women and highlighting their achievements.
Do you know of any UAE-based companies that are doing amazing things for women in the workplace? Let us know in the comments section below.