It's a man's world?... Annual Women in Business Forum makes the case for inclusion and diversity in the regional workplace
Source: WPR for University of Manchester Middle East Centre , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Tue October 16, 2018 1:46 pm

UAE The University of Manchester Middle East Centre has hosted its third annual Women in Business Forum in partnership with Dubai Future Accelerators, with networking and a highly interactive panel discussion on 'Women in Tech' for over 75 guests.

Business may still be a man's world with organisational structures built by men for men - but there is a clear and growing business case for greater gender diversity and inclusion in today's workplace. With more women choosing an entrepreneurial career path, setting up their own businesses and climbing the corporate ladder, they are now getting into the decision making positions that will help that accelerate change.
The Women in Business Forum was opened with a presentation by CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) which shared its latest findings on gender diversity and pay, and women in the technology sector. The CIPD presentation demonstrated the scale of the challenge of gender equality and the cost of missing the opportunity, and highlighted the need to shift emphasis from purely diversity to a balance with inclusivity.
According to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Parity report, 2018, at the current pace of change, it will take 217 years to achieve gender parity in the workplace. This slow pace comes at a cost.

Globally, countries are losing $160 trillion in wealth creation because of the earnings gap between men and women over their lifetime (according to the World Bank, 2018).  Progress on women representation in the workplace is patchy and is even regressing in some areas – for example, the number of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies has dropped by 25% between 2017 and 2018 (according to Fortune Magazine, 2018).
The encouraging news is that across the Arab world, women earn more science degrees on a percentage basis than women in the US. In Saudi Arabia alone, women earn half of all science degrees. Globally, girls and young women usually outperform their peers –except in the STEM fields and the Middle East North Africa region is the only one where girls systematically outperform boys, including in the STEM fields.
The technology sector may be no further ahead in terms of diversity but tech in the workplace is making a big impact in creating a more accessible and flexible working environment, which is especially valuable for women and working mothers. Women-led tech startups are more likely to get funding and have a 35% higher ROI when venture backed and generate 12% more revenue than male-run startups.
There remain barriers to women's progress in the workplace including bias (conscious or unconscious) right from the recruitment stage through career progression opportunities, and including the pay gap and a lack of flexible employment policies.
Randa Bessiso, Director – Middle East, The University of Manchester, commented: "The region is creating more opportunities for professional women to build productive and rewarding careers. There is a lot of encouragement and support for women in the public sector and increasingly in the private sector and women do not have to mirror masculine behaviour to be successful. The door continues to open for women as the workplace becomes more flexible and tech makes a significant difference. Most importantly, women need to overcome their fears and develop the confidence - a function of self-belief and ability - to find their voices and build personal brands through high quality education, ongoing training and development, and nurturing through networking support and mentoring."
Women in Business Forum panellists:
·       Marita Mitschein, Senior Vice President Digital Skills EMEA South & Managing Director, SAP Training & Development Institute Member of SAP's Global Executive Leadership Team
·       Naveed Minhas, IBM MEA Banking Industry Leader, Global Business Services
·       Eman El Demairy, Middle East and Africa Marketing Leader for the Government Industry in IBM
·       Heather Henyon, Founding General Partner, Mindshift Capital
·       Moderator: Ramy Bayyour, General Manager – CIPD Middle East
About The University of Manchester Middle East Centre
The University of Manchester Middle East Centre at Dubai Knowledge Park opened in 2006 and is the largest and fastest growing in the university's international network comprising six hubs in the key business cities around the world. The Centre has supported more than 2,300 Manchester Global Part-time MBA students in the region, and graduated more than 1,300 MBA students. The Middle East Centre has recently launched a new portfolio of executive education programmes and is introducing a series of new, industry-led specialist Masters programmes; the first of these include the MSc Reliability Engineering and Asset Management, and MSc International Healthcare Leadership. The Centre works in regional collaborations with a range of industry groups, professional bodies and companies, and supports a regional alumni association with more than 2,500 members.
About The University of Manchester
The University of Manchester is currently delivering a £1 billion 10-year masterplan for its campus to create world-class facilities for staff, students and visitors. This includes the redevelopment of the Alliance Manchester Business School, the £350m Manchester Engineering Campus Development and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC).  Completed projects so far include the award-winning National Graphene Institute and The Whitworth Art Gallery.
Issued on behalf of The University of Manchester Middle East Centre by WPR.



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