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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Societe General Middle East launches financial literacy club

The initiative aims to empower businesswoman in financial decision-making

An employee works inside one of Dubai Islamic Bank's women-only branches in Deira. Jumana El-Heloueh / Reuters
An employee works inside one of Dubai Islamic Bank's women-only branches in Deira. Jumana El-Heloueh / Reuters

Societe Generale Middle East launched a networking and financial literacy club, in an effort to empower businesswomen with financial decision-making.

The French lender, which has been active in the region for about two decades, held its first session of ‘The Circle’ at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry last week.

The event brought members of the Dubai Business Women Council (DWBC) together to explain available options that can help businesswomen with financial know-how -- a crucial component for business success.

Senior executives from Societe Generale discussed a range of topics demystify banking, shedding light on broader concepts in Islamic finance, wealth management and the general state of affairs in the Arabian Gulf. The initiative is part of the banks commitment as a signatory to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles -- seven steps that businesses can take to increase and improve the social, economic, political and legal strength of women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

Societe Generale Middle East focused on education, training and professional development for women.

“Empowerment through education and knowledge sharing is a key way to have a positive impact on society. As a bank, financial literacy is a natural endeavour through which we can support the community among which we live as well as the wider goals of the UAE leadership,” Richard Soundardjee, the chief executive of Societe Generale Middle East said.

“We are very proud to partner with the DBWC and launch ‘The Circle’ for its members,” he said adding that the success of the inaugural session is a reflection of the immense appetite for financial education and information.

The UAE aims to rank in the top 25 countries in the world for gender equality by 2021. The country established a Gender Balance Council in 2015 to implement initiatives that reduce the gender gap and promote gender parity. Of the country’s 30 cabinet ministers in the country, eight are women.

“This collaboration builds on DBWC’s strategic partnerships aimed at providing women in Dubai and the UAE with the best resources to achieve their full potential,” said Raja Al Gurg, the president of DBWC.

A 2015 survey by Standard & Poor’s showed that women are more financially literate than men in the UAE, as opposed to virtually every other country in the world where men are either equal to or more financially literate than women.

According to the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies women account for 70 per cent of 10,000 UAE nationals employed by the banking industry in the country. The ratio is the highest of any sector in the country, according to the institute.