"Maximising the potential of Arab Women"
Helping Arab Women to lead: Initial findings from the Muthabara Foundation 2007 Research Project Dr Serra Kirdar-Meliti, Director Slide 1 Agenda • Background • The Muthabara Foundation • Importance of helping Arab Women to lead • Research Findings • Recommendations • Questions and Comments Slide 2 Background • The context and status of women’s empowerment varies across the Arab world • Need to preserve identity and community whilst taking rightful place in the global economy • Highly successful women from many regions can be seen as exemplars • Change is now coming from women themselves • Islam promotes equality of women – highly radical in its inception • Not ‘Western’ feminism but a local feminism negotiated by Arab women • Similar ‘glass ceiling’ for Western women. Managerial positions filled by women: Germany 25%, UK 33%. Senior positions: US 10%, Germany 5% 1 • Exemplars merge womanhood and professional success, Islam and modernity • Hence – the Muthabara Foundation  Gardiner, M. & Tiggemann, M. Gender Differences in Leadership Style, Job Stress and Mental Health in Male and Female Dominated Industries, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Studies, 1999, Vol. 72, Issue 3, British Psychology Society, p.1 Slide 3 The Muthabara Foundation: Making a difference • MISSION Maximise the potential of young Arab women to create intellectual capital, through improved education, mentoring/role models and publicising success. Slide 4 The Muthabara Foundation: Making a difference • OBJECTIVES - initial focus on UAE as leading exemplar: GUIDE ADVISE DEVELOP ENHANCE Slide 5 The Muthabara Foundation: Making a difference GUIDE Guide and support Arab women to maximise their potential ADVISE Advise educational establishments on how to best meet the requirements of employers Advise National and international organisations on effective recruitment and development of Arab women. Slide 6 The Muthabara Foundation: Making a difference DEVELOP Develop projects that produce educational, economic and social benefits above the benefit of the individual – systemic change Develop relationships and alliances with public/ private sectors to enhance expansion of projects ENHANCE Enhancing, through research, government policy and programmes for women and nationalization in general. Slide 7 Helping Arab women to lead: Complexities of many related issues PLUS General human Issues relating specifically to resource issues: UAE women: Cultural norms and * Developing global talent values, family pressure, women’ s * Managing diversity role in Arab society, ‘Islam, women * Localising management and work’ style * Global HR policies Issues relating to Issues relating to women at work (male Nationalisation: attitudes, child care, Education levels, segregation vs integration motivating the wealthy, etc) moving from public sector etc Slide 8 Helping UAE Women to lead: Why does it matter? • UAE strategy (highly successful to date) requires – increasing diversification away from oil and gas, – increase in private sector employment for nationals (and reduction in public sector) – and increasing productivity of workforce through less reliance on cheap immigrant labour. More Nationals justifying higher wages. • UAE national population ~20% of total, ~10% of working population. • Therefore, in order to control the economy, a high proportion of nationals need to lead, especially in ‘core’ and strategic sectors such as tourism and IT. • UAE women are a key resource, currently under-utilised, especially in the private sector. • Every UAE National, male or female, with the potential to lead must be helped to realise that potential. • Currently ~7% of Emirati women are in leadership roles • This is comparable to Europe/US) – so what is the issue? As quoted in Dubai Strategic Plan 3rd Feb 2007 Slide 9 Profile of a hypothetical country’s management population 0.1% Directors Middle mgmt leaders 1% Supervisory leaders 10% 88.9% Non-leaders Slide 10 If UAE nationals form 20% (~1m) of the working population (~5m) with a ‘normal’ proportion of leaders Then 80% of strategic leaders 0.1% would be expatriate/immigrants. Directors .. and 80% of Middle mgmt middle Managers leaders 1% .. and 80% of Supervisors Supervisory leaders 10% Leaving c90% of UAE nationals in ‘non-leading’ roles, mostly led by expatriate/immigrants 88.9% Non-leaders Slide 11 If we want all strategic leaders to be nationals, half of all middle managers and half of supervisors, then Then all of strategic leaders 5000 = 0.5% of UAE population (5000) would be Nationals Directors .. and 50% (25,000) Middle mgmt of middle Managers leaders 25,000 = 2.5% .. and 50% (250,000) of Supervisors Supervisory leaders 250,000 = 25% Leaving only 72% (720,000) of UAE Nationals in ‘non-leading’ roles, but mostly led by Nationals Non-leaders Slide 12 UAE women – a potential asset that cannot be ignored • We need 5% (~5000) of our population to achieve strategic leadership roles • We need 2.5% (~25,000 people) to achieve middle management leadership roles • We need 25% (~250,000 people) to achieve supervisory leadership roles. • ~ 40% of our Nationals are women ~400,000 people of whom only ~50,000 are currently in the labour force. • An underutilised 350,000 people, of whom many would no doubt be capable of achieving leadership roles. • A resource that cannot be ignored. Slide 13 Also… • Women in leadership roles are a critical component of true empowerment. • Highly educated and capable women will be an asset in any role, including family life. • Working women contribute to the economic and social success of the country. • Women can have a significant leadership role in economic and political spheres – representing a large proportion of the population. • The UAE’s strategy focuses on building a knowledge/service economy – which benefits from multiple perspectives including those of women. Slide 14 Helping UAE women to lead: First research project • Objectives: – Identify the requirements of major employers in the UAE (local and foreign) in order to increase the employment of women into professional and managerial roles. – Identify any gaps between these requirements and the provision of education for UAE women in the UAE. – Identify any overlapping or related initiatives to ensure that the Foundation complements and facilitates any existing work in this area. – Provide a business case for the foundation including costs and potential benefits. • Method – Literature and meta-review – Qualitative Research – PART 1 The Employers’ perspective • Interview range of facilitating organisations • Interview range of employers • Interview range of educational institutions – PART 2: The womens’ perspective (underway) • Interview Arab Women (Students) • Interview Arab Women (mature, employed in public and private sector) • Focus Groups to debate issues • Attend relevant workshops (Tawan and Middle East Centre Oxford) Slide 15 Support for employment for women (positive comments in blue, negative in red – from organisations) Public Sector still more attractive How will support Some than private change in the professions future Positive still restricted Neutral Varies in the Negative Early education different Emirates Current support needs to include for employment of women world of work Nationalisation quotas 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% generate resistance amongst Expats against employing Emiratis Government support has been very Women seen in important roles strong - and crucial, along with Government and commerce Women entering new cultural change and perceptions professions e.g. Many initiatives to help engineering, IT about women in employment Emiratis in general and women in particular Rapid increase in higher Ratio of females to education for women males is increasing Nationalisation quotas Skills shortages will have forced organisations force companies to to employ and develop develop women Nationals Slide 16 What helps employers employ and develop Arab Women for leadership roles? (company perspectives) Family-oriented Respectful of with good sense hierarchy of work-life (non- Respectful of balance Education levels assertive) hierarchy 14% (polite) Top management Family-oriented support with good sense 32% of work-life Well educated balance Good English (uncommitted) Factors about Arab More enthusiastic women themselves and committed 25% Higher emotional intelligence Government initiatives Try harder and 29% diligent Slide 17 What hinders you in employing and developing Arab women? (perceptions) Family responsibilities Education doesn’t prepare can conflict with high- Lack of skills for world of work pressure roles 4% Some professions Prefer hierarchic Policy issues seen as unsuitable management style 4% (e.g. personal Society and cultural services, issues Management style Not challenging hospitality, non- 28% differences enough for modern Islamic banking) 13% consensual mgmt Relatives may style exercise control over career choices Public sector pays Women may find it difficult to work Government high salaries for internationally 13% little effort so creates unrealistic Require specific working expectations conditions (flexible hours, no mixing with single men) Perceptions ofArab May only want to Local men, and women, Aspirations work for a few years, sometimes find it difficult to women 17% then focus on family accept women as leaders. May 21% accept foreign woman more Perhaps not assertive enough for easily! (as honorary man) demanding management role Specific initiatives to ‘get the best’’ from Arab women and fulfil their potential? • All the organisations stressed they are ‘gender neutral’ • All had equal opportunities and diversity policies • Many had excellent programmes to recruit and develop Emirates Nationals – male and female. • Many had well-developed talent development initiatives • No specific development for women • Most specifically recruited Nationals, none specifically recruited females • Few had mentoring programmes - not focused on women • All see massive growth in the region with increasing demand for good Nationals • Some (international companies) had global ‘female-friendly’ offerings (creche, maternity leave, flexi-time etc). Few had specific facilities for women (e.g. segregated office) • Most global organisations stressed that HR policies and practices were standard across the business. Very little local tailoring • Only one had a specific initiative relating to National women – allowing a male relative to accompany a woman on overseas assignment. Slide 19 Areas of potential focus for Muthabara • Guidance for employing organisations: How to get the best from Arab women employees – Mentoring (e.g. Jumeirah, Barclays) – Working conditions – e.g. manage 1-1 meetings, prayer rooms, separate relaxation area? – Adapt management style to suit – Politeness, respect for authority, concern for family, work-life balance – Misunderstanding personal characteristics - Assertiveness, subservience, reserved, ‘shy’ – Ambition and goals (tend to be family/society oriented rather than power/money) should be respected and seen as positive advantage – Global experience – Overseas travel could be eased by accompanying relative (e.g. HSBC) – Innovative working conditions (flexible hours, tele-working etc) – Involve family (e.g. Jumeirah, Etisalat) Slide 20 Potential focus (2) • Education – attitudes of women to work – Teach ‘world of work’ at school to help with attitudes of young women – Teach English as young as possible – Explore model of career then family break then return to work – Explore large company career, then own business and family – Vocational training in partnership with commerce (re German dual system) – Focus on ‘core’, strategic subjects – More global experience in conjunction with overseas institutions (e.g. Oxford University, Oxford Brookes) – More internships at earlier age with multi-nationals and national private sector companies. – Do single sex colleges help or reduce integration? • Career guidance for women – Scientific career assessment for young women – Review of options including entrepreneurship Slide 21 Potential Focus (3) • Help families to appreciate the benefits of women working – Government and employers need to sell to families that work can be a source of honour in a safe and respectful place (e.g. Etisalat) – Praise and recognition for forward thinking families – give working women high status – Global experience – Overseas travel could be eased by accompanying relative (e.g. HSBC) – Employers establish communication with families so that issues can be resolved before they become problems • Recommendations for Government/policy – More support for business start-ups. Set up/encourage VC and incubators – Tighter controls on immigrant labour (move away from cheapest labour towards capital investment) – Reduce public sector (Libya giving 400,000 nationals 3 years pay or help to start own business) – Seed capital for start-up initiatives for women – UAE Strategy to define ‘core’ professions and drive strategic focus in education and employment Slide 22 How you can help • Your comments/opinions ideas (can our researcher interview you?) • Access to more UAE women for Phase 2 survey/interviews • Collaborations, synergies, networking etc • Sponsorship or contribution • Email email@example.com Slide 23