Pearl Initiative and NAMA Engage in Research on Women’s Participation in Gulf Workforce

Sunday 07 July 2019
Sharjah - MENA Herald:

Pearl Initiative, the leading non-profit organisation fostering corporate accountability and transparency across the Gulf Region, recently held a stakeholder meeting in collaboration with NAMA Women Advancement (NAMA) under its Diversity in Business Leadership programme in Sharjah, UAE.

The objective of the stakeholder meeting is to provide qualitative data to research that is currently being undertaken within the Pearl Initiative’s Diversity in Business Leadership programme. The research includes an online survey that will be used to build a report on ‘Women in the Economy: The Gulf Region Outlook’, to be published in December 2019.

Prominent business and industry leaders participated in the meeting, examining the current status of women in the workplace in the Gulf Region, the contemporary state of gender diversity in the economy, as well as the quandaries commonly faced by women at work. Among the topics of discussion was how organisations across all sectors can help increase diversity and encourage women in their chosen careers.

Key topics of discussion at the meeting included the obstacles faced by women in entering the Gulf Region’s workforce, their challenges in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and how organisations may help address these issues and support women in the workplace. Other issues discussed by the participants included suggestions on how organisations could eliminate such obstacles such as unconscious biases and implement policies that would support increased diversity in their operations.

HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, said: “Along with our longstanding partner, the Pearl Initiative, NAMA is committed to advancing women’s participation in the economy and enabling them to become key influencers in society and economy. The stakeholder meeting has helped identify key issues impacting the Gulf Region’s female workforce, which can support the shaping of gender-inclusive policies and strategies to be applied to economic sectors across the board.”

She added: “There is a notable lack of data on this subject, the generation of which will be instrumental to efforts in field. The information gathered at this stakeholder meeting will add tremendous value to the Gulf-wide research being conducted within the Pearl Initiative’s Diversity in Business Leadership programme at present. The study covers a broad range of economic sectors and is in line with our mission to also support one of the key goals of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is to promote gender equity.”

Yasmine Omari, Executive Director of the Pearl Initiative, said, “The findings of this stakeholder meeting and the feedback of all the attendees have fuelled further insights about the status of women in the workforce, and have greatly enhanced the understanding of the impact of diversity and inclusion across the region’s economy.”

She noted: “The research findings, when published, will be of great economic value to the Gulf Region’s businesses. Our continued partnership with NAMA reflects the Pearl Initiative’s enduring efforts to expand the reach of its programmes and heighten awareness around corporate governance best practices in collaboration with local and regional leading institutions.”

The new research under the Diversity in Business Leadership programme follows on from the legacy of a report that was launched in 2017 focusing on women in the UAE economy. Key findings of this report include the facts that gender-based biases and stereotypes served as barriers to women’s workforce engagement, and that a supportive organisational workplace was the top factor encouraging women’s entry into the workforce.

The new iteration of the programme builds on this initial report and seeks to cover women’s involvement across the Gulf Region’s workforce.

Founded in 2010, the Pearl Initiative develops programmes and publishes regional research reports and case studies, with aims to influence the regional business and student communities towards implementing higher standards of corporate governance within the Gulf Region.

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