Demonstrating Diversity: GE in Saudi Arabia and UAE Mark International Women’s Day
GE’s commitment to diversity and to the career advancement of all its employees was demonstrated during a full schedule of events held for its employees in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to mark International Women’s Day. The nine sessions ranged from inspiring presentations by successful female Saudi entrepreneurs and businesswoman to women’s health screenings to discussions about career advancement.
Events in Saudi Arabia
Latifa Alwalaan, founder and CEO of Yatooq Coffee Company, visited GE’s office in Riyadh where she described how she invented her electric Arabic coffee machine and offered inspirational advice on leadership.
Iyla Alshadawi, Project Engineer at Al-Falak Electronic Equipment & Supplies and President of the Eastern Province Young Businesswomen’s Executive Council, spoke to female employees at GEMTEC, the GE Energy Manufacturing Technology Center in Daman. She offered practical work advice, with a focus on tips for women employed in the Saudi workplace.
An all-women’s group of GE employees visited the GE Healthcare Learning Center at the King Fahad Medical Center in Riyadh, where they toured the facility and received a presentation on the medical center and its expansion plans. A separate trip of female GE employees visited the Alsharqia Chamber of Commerce Businesswomen’s Center in Khobar. They received a presentation on the center’s services, which include job training, recruitment, support to female entrepreneurs and advice on how to run small businesses.
Events in the United Arab Emirates
GE employees attended an inspiring presentation by Shabana Basij-Rasikh, cofounder of SOLA (School of Leadership Afghanistan), a non-profit boarding school that helps young Afghan women access education around the world and find jobs in Afghanistan. Four SOLA students also spoke about their personal experiences, which left the audience awestruck.
Basij-Rasikh, who dressed as a boy so she could attend school in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban, spoke to the employees about the importance of education and the need to challenge the status quo to ensure education for all.
At another event, three senior GE executives led a discussion that generated valuable career advice. Maher Abouzeid, President & CEO of GE Healthcare for the Middle East & Pakistan, explained how his team nurtures diversity and spoke about how they evaluate talent when looking at an employee’s next role. Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation & Communications Officer for GE in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, shared her career journey as a successful female leader. She also spoke about how she became comfortable with risk taking along the way. Lama Nakkash, an HR Business Partner in the Power & Water Division, discussed GE’s promotion and career development policies.
A workshop on GE’s flexible working hours and maternity policies was also held to inform working mothers with young children or a mother-to-be about the company’s flexible policies that can help them manage their responsibilities both at work and outside of work.
Alongside the work-focused sessions, GE organized two women’s health events. These included a visit by noted women’s health expert Dr. Anuradha Rahul Deshmukh, a practicing gynecologist at Zulekha Hospitals. She discussed major issues impacting the health of women, with a special mention of the risks of cervical cancer and its treatment. A second health focus was on osteoporosis – given that it affects more women than breast cancer, stroke and heart attack combined. Bone-density testing was offered female employees using the GE Achilles Insight Machine, an ultrasound machine for the heel that effectively assesses an individual’s risks of osteoporosis.
Other International Women’s Day events were held by GE Egypt, while throughout the year, GE supports workplace diversity in a variety of ways. This includes the GE Women’s Network, which helps the more than 100,000 female GE employees worldwide to cultivate their leadership skills, business practices, personal contacts and career opportunities. One of GE’s most recent steps was to become a partner company of the Pearl Initiative, where it is sponsoring the organization’s research into why there are so few women on corporate boards and in executive roles in the region.
For more information on GE’s commitment to workplace diversity, click here.