Landmark GCC Study Outlines Path to See More Women in Senior Corporate Leadership Roles

Landmark GCC Study Outlines Path to See More Women in Senior Corporate Leadership Roles

April 16, 2015 at 12:04pm

A landmark study on working women in the GCC finds that nearly half of the senior business women polled believe that a good work/life balance is possible, and nearly two-thirds believe that society thinks it’s acceptable for married women with children to work. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they aspire to a management role in the next seven years.

On the other hand, 80% of these women feel they are at a disadvantage at work simply for being a woman, and two-thirds believe that gender bias has negatively impacted their career progression. Only 25% of women polled think they are treated equally in the workplace, while 75% say they are not able to advance as quickly as men.

While these statistics present a challenge, they also represent a huge opportunity for companies looking to improve their performance and their bottom lines. That’s because numerous studies have shown that improving gender diversity provides a boost to a company’s bottom line. And now, this report provides five specific steps any organization can take to ensure more women are part of the senior management team.

GE sponsored the research by the Pearl Initiative for the report, “Women’s Careers in the GCC – The CEO Agenda,” which was released during the first United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Regional Forum in the Middle East.

The study interviewed more than 600 senior business women across the GCC to arrive at these recommendations:

  • Improve work/life balance: flexible working is central to this, with performance
  • appraisal based on achievements rather than time spent in the office.
  • Create a balanced culture: CEOs can play a vital role by visibly supporting women at work. The key is to ensure more women make it through middle management to more senior positions, and the ‘tone in the middle’ will take its cue from the ‘tone at the top.’
  • Invest in building career paths, not only more support and mentoring for talented women, but more diversity training for men.
  • Adopt HR policies that ensure equality in the workplace, including policies on recruitment, pay and promotion, and targets for numbers of women at each managerial level.
  • Be an advocate in the wider community, by using their own public profile to raise awareness of the value of a more diverse workplace, and the contribution talented women can make.

GE’s ongoing partnership with the Pearl Initiative is expanding the pipeline of talented professional women in engineering and administrative roles for GE and other organizations in the Middle East.

In addition to supporting the Pearl Initiative, GE supports workplace diversity and the GCC business woman in a variety of ways. GE has a strong pool of professional women in senior management roles in the region, including Dalya Al Muthanna, President & CEO Gulf for GE. These female managers mentor younger women and engage with their peers across the  GE Women’s Network. This organization supports the more than 100,000 female GE employees worldwide to cultivate their leadership skills, business practices, personal contacts and career opportunities.

To read the full report, click here.

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