Clockwise from left: Layal Saad, Khadija Khalifa, Jana Gutierrez-Kardum, Hanan Ahmad, Maya El Hachem and Aissata Sada Wane. Ahead of International Women's Day, they say that UAE is a place where women can grow in their personal lives and careers without any hurdles . Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE is a place where women can grow in their personal lives and careers without any hurdles as the emirates promotes gender equality, say women expats of the country working in top positions, just ahead of Women’s International Day on March 8.

“Strong gender equality imperatives have enabled us to attract, retain and empower the best mix of talent, ensuring that our female team members achieve their potential and contribute fully, for them and for us, right here in the UAE. As a woman, I feel lucky to live in the UAE as the country does much to promote women in work culture. There are no challenges as women to find jobs. It is equal. It all comes down to your own achievement and merit,” said Layal Saad, Senior Director of Human Resources at Procter & Gamble.

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Gender equality

Layal Saad

“In fact, Procter & Gamble is supporting to ensure that we move the issue of gender to the top of the region’s priorities in 2021 and beyond. Our recently concluded #WeSeeEqual Summit brought together leading voices on Gender Equality to challenge the current discourse and commit to the actions needed for progress,” she said.

Aissata Sada Wane

Aissata Sada Wane, CFO, Schneider Electric Gulf Countries, said she has never felt neglected or excluded for a job just because she is a woman. “The UAE is a melting pot and a country that respects women living in the Emirates.” “I think back in the days of my older female relatives there were quite a few challenges. We have most certainly made progress since. Going forward, we need to strive to achieve parity around issues such as opportunity and remuneration. And that’s what we all have to keep pushing for.”

Inclusive society

Khadija Khalifa

Emirati Khadija Khalifa, senior director of commercial & sponsorship, Global Village said: “I applaud the achievements of women across the UAE and beyond. Here in Global Village, we have a deep-rooted belief in diversity and a mission to bring extraordinary people from around the globe to redefine how we experience culture. As an Emirati woman, I am extremely proud and honoured to play my part in the increasingly inclusive society we are building in the UAE.”

Diverse pool of talent

Jana Gutierrez Kardum

Jana Gutierrez Kardum, Senior HR Manager for Central Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Red Hat said: “UAE’s great diverse pool of talent has enabled us to grow the proportion of women in our UAE office by more than 40 per cent — a result that gives us courage to continue and expand our programmes focused on women.” She said: “Our Women’s Leadership Community provides opportunities for Red Hat women to develop their public speaking skills, connect and exchange experience, get opportunities to demonstrate their leadership abilities and get exposure to senior leaders in Red Hat’s organisation. We also have an internal mentoring program, which has a special chapter focused on mentoring for women.”

Salute women

Maya El Hachem

Maya El Hachem, Managing Director & Partner, Boston Consulting Group said she would like to take the opportunity of IWD to salute women in different work sectors and applaud their efforts and hard work in the UAE. “This year, IWD arrives at a challenging time for most women everywhere, whether as scientists working towards a vaccine, nurses and doctors on the front lines, or mothers and professionals trying to balance responsibilities under a new set of circumstances. IWD is a good moment to reflect on the challenges women face and consider the effect of COVID-19 crisis on the progress we have made on gender equality.

New standards

Hanan Ahmad

Hanan Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs and Assurance (Acting) at EITC and Chairwoman of du’s Gender Balance Council also said: “Leading by example and setting new standards in support of diversity are commitments that du considers top most priority. As such, these have enabled us to drive and maintain positive changes across the organisation, by driving equal opportunities, promoting women in Leadership roles, fostering talents & next generation of female leaders specially in STEM roles. From du Gender Balance Council perspective, we create awareness, encourage discussions and drive positive actions towards building a workplace that supports gender balance in an agile organisation.”

"According to the UN, without any intervention, the progress could be set back decades. Globally, women are more likely to work in sectors that were hit the hardest by the crisis. Moreover, the recent BCG study, “Easing the COVID-19 Burden on Working Parents”, found that although many men stepped up to help during the COVID-19 crisis, women still shoulder greater responsibilities for their children and home,” she said.