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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Gender diversity is critical component of nation's economic success

Emirati women work at the Etihad Contact Centre in Al Ain. Sarah Dea / The National
Emirati women work at the Etihad Contact Centre in Al Ain. Sarah Dea / The National

Diversity in the work force is an issue that is constantly under scrutinyin the job market worldwide.

Of particular importance in thediscussion is the issue of gender diversity; in spite of some progress in recent years, a third of businesses globally still have no women in senior management positions, according to research by Grant Thornton International.

In the US women account for 23 per cent of senior roles, while they hold 18 percent of top management positions in Latin America, a region that has produced notable female political leaders. In the European Union the number of top positions held by women has been steady but still remains relatively low at 24 per cent, contrasting with the 35 per cent figure for Eastern Europe.. The Asean region meanwhile has a relatively strong performance, with 34 per cent of senior management roles being held by women.

A policy of inclusion, as governments and corporates have discovered in the UAE, is beneficial to both organizations and businesses. Women are an economic power.

Equal access to education and jobs is a cornerstone of advancing a country's economy. Aside from continuously investing in its education system to prepare the youth of tomorrow for the job market and equip them with the relevant skillsets, the UAE has been at the forefront of promoting women and equality in the work force through various legislation.

The effects of the leadership’s vision are palpable when one looks at the number of women entering the workplace in the UAE.

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The proportion of women worldwide entering the workplace has increased, according to Grant Thornton. Over 30 per cent of respondents surveyed stated that their organisation had between 41 per cent and 60 per cent female representation, with 21 per cent stating they have over 60 per cent female representation within their organisation, which presents a proportionate statistic for women in the workforce.

What is refreshing are the latest findings from the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS). According to the institute 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.

If one needed a metric to illustrate the country is heading in the right direction, that resoundingly is it.