GE Egypt Marked International Women’s Day with Top Female Figures in Media and Business
Employees of GE Egypt marked this year’s International Women’s Day with two special events that explored issues such as career acceleration and the role of Egyptian women in business, media and society. Speakers included two senior GE executives, a successful female entrepreneur and a leading star of Egyptian cinema.
The first event featured a talk on career development by Nibal El Tantawy, GE’s Human Resources Leader for North Africa. She encouraged the audience of female employees to see a “career” as a combination of personal competencies, personal passions and an organization’s needs. She encouraged employees to remain constantly aware of – and in alignment with – their company’s dynamics and priorities, and when looking ahead to their next role, “see what is needed to get there.”
The second event featured Yousra Siveen, the Egyptian superstar commonly known as Yousra, who also is a woman’s advocate and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Program; Hala El Barkouky, a business transformation management specialist and founder of WIN (Women Investment Notebook), which is currently under establishment, and Sofiane Ben Tounes, President and CEO of GE North East Africa.
Yousra encouraged audience members to learn everything they can about their career. For example, to be a stronger actor, Yousra said she learned about directing, editing, casting and producing films. Also, “never be shy to ask. Ask questions when you don’t understand.” She also encouraged women to “dream big. It is your right,” and also to be active in their communities, “so your impact will be stronger … even if it’s within a small group.”
El Barkouky reviewed current statistics that show that there are relatively few female executives working for companies in the region. She pointed out that the lack of female representation can hurt a company’s performance, citing various studies that show companies with more women on their boards and in the C-suite do better than companies with few or no women in those positions.
Ben Tounes discussed GE’s efforts to empower women, including the GE Women’s Network, which helps more than 100,000 female GE employees worldwide to cultivate their leadership skills, business practices, personal contacts and career opportunities. He added that 15% of GE’s workforce in Egypt is comprised of women and said the company is working on increasing this number, especially in the fields of technology and engineering.
Throughout the year, GE supports workplace diversity in a variety of ways. One of its 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.