Women day
Participants of the 'entertainment breakout session' organised as part of the Women's Day virtual seminar by Dubai Holding in Dubai.

Dubai: Dubai Holding, a diversified global investment company with presence in over 13 countries, held its first flagship public virtual event, ‘Women of Tomorrow’, to mark International Women’s Day 2022, reaffirming its commitment to gender equality, following the recent launch of the Dubai Holding Gender Equity Strategy and Framework.

The organisation announced the selection of 15 senior female candidates for the Director Development Programme by Hawkamah, Middle East Institute for Corporate Governance. The programme will upskill the 15 female executives to support them in advancing into more senior management positions and leadership roles as well as becoming board ready.

Large participation

The online event presented a unique opportunity for Dubai Holding’s various stakeholders, as well as a larger audience of female entrepreneurs, professionals and graduates in the UAE to engage and learn from leading women and men at Dubai Holding who shared their knowledge and expertise on some of Dubai’s leading business sectors, including hospitality, construction, asset management, and entertainment and media, through a high-level panel and sector-specific interactive breakout sessions.

Celebrating women’s stellar contribution

Amit Kaushal

Amit Kaushal, Group Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Holding, who delivered the keynote speech during the event, said: “As a responsible business and key player in the socio-economic development of the UAE, Dubai Holding believes in the sustainable and strategic value that results from the increase in female participation in the workforce. Research has consistently demonstrated that having more women in the workplace inspires productivity, and women in leadership roles greatly contribute to the enhancement of any business performance.”

Bridging the gender gap

The main panel discussion titled Empowering Women in UAE’s Leading Sectors saw speakers from Dubai Holding discuss the opportunities and challenges for women in the private sector. Panellists included Ellen Dubois du Bellay, Chief Human Resources Officer, Jumeirah, Dubai Holding Hospitality; Khadija Al Bastaki, Executive Director, Dubai Design District, Dubai Holding Asset Management; Michelle Saywood, Vice President — Design, North25, Dubai Holding Real Estate; and Sara Stevens, Operations Head, The Green Planet, Dubai Holding Entertainment.

Close the gender gap

When asked about the challenges faced during her education and the start of her career, Al Bastaki, said: “The UAE government has always emphasised the importance of women in the social and economic fabric, taking prominent action to close the gender gap through the measures designed and implemented by the Gender Balance Council. Similarly, Dubai Holding champions the contributions of women across all its companies, continuously advancing the wider gender balance agenda through prominent policies.”

The panelists also discussed the importance of mentorship and training to women’s career development, and advised them to embrace their passion, build their confidence and resilience and to seek companies that have a gender equality agenda.