Emirati Women’s Day: A Shared Commitment to Diversity and the Success It Brings
As GE UAE employees celebrate Emirati Women’s Day today by tucking into Emirati delicacies specially ordered from Emirati women-run food businesses, the reality is the company always embodies the spirit of this important day.
Like the UAE itself, GE recognizes the strategic importance that diversity – including gender diversity – plays in the success of any organization. It’s one of the reasons that GE launched a global campaign in February to have 20,000 women in STEM roles at GE by 2020 and obtaining 50:50 representation for all its technical entry-level programs.
This is no surprise, as study after study, including this one in 2014, this one from 2015 and this one from 2016, shows that greater diversity, including gender diversity, in the workforce, on boards and in senior leadership can directly boost bottom-line profitability, as well as in other areas of performance.
The leadership of the UAE understands this, and so has worked continually, since its founding, to encourage government and industry to tap the female Emirati workforce. It also has encouraged each generation of young women to explore the diversity of opportunities the country has to offer.
Dr. Dalya Al Muthanna, President and CEO of GE Gulf, said that UAE leaders have been role models in empowering women. “Across society, we all see that this objective comes from the top down, as it empowers women to give all they can give and opens the way for women to showcase their capabilities.
“By promoting a diverse culture, what Emirati government and business is seeing is a diverse set of minds, backgrounds, leadership styles and skills that enhance the essence of overall Emirati leadership across the country — whether in government departments or companies,” she said.
GE is a strong partner to the UAE leadership in promoting diversity by collaborating on training and leadership programs and innovation workshops with government departments, as well as by offering mentorships, internships and other programs for university students.
These programs not only serve as an ongoing form of innovation and skills transfer between GE and the UAE, it also creates awareness among young women in university and early-to-mid-career women working in the government sector regarding the diverse set of choices they have. This is not only in terms of opportunities in the private sector, versus the government sector, but also in the full range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
By reaching young women early in their careers or even while still in school, “it makes it easier to support girls to either choose or continue to follow a STEM career. This outreach and encouragement has to be done early,” she said.
Not only through external programs, but also internally, GE supports women, through initiatives such as the GE Women’s Network and women-focused mentorship programs.
Dr. Al Muthanna said the UAE has set a great example for the region. “It has really been able to break the barriers and promote Emirati women empowerment. In a region that often struggles when compared to global measures, the UAE has been able to reach global standards in many fields.”
One example is the recently released KPMG International’s Change Readiness Index that ranked the UAE as the most prepared country for change in the Middle East and North Africa, and the third most prepared in the world.
By supporting Emirati women in all roles, Dr. Muthanna said, the UAE’s leadership has helped create the conditions necessary to achieve this position. The study ranked UAE Enterprise Capabilities as first globally and UAE Government Capabilities as second globally.
Learn more about GE’s work in the UAE here and more about GE’s diversity commitments in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey by following this link.