x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Career tips and inspiration for UAE's working women

The workshop is part of a Dubai Women Establishment series called the "Emirati Leaders Gathering", created in 2008 to support and motivate working women.

DUBAI // Emirati women received training and advice yesterday on how to succeed in their careers during a workshop held by the Dubai Women Establishment.

The discussion was attended by dozens of women seeking tips, and inspiration, and Klaithem Ali, who works for Dubai's immigration department, said: "We need more of this kind of thing."

Minas bin Dakhan, who works for Dubai Statistics Centre, added: "It showed me that women all over the place face the same problems, whether they are Emirati or in western culture."

The workshop was part of a Dubai Women Establishment series called the "Emirati Leaders Gathering", created in 2008 to support and motivate working women.

"You cannot afford to misstep on this [career] ladder and of course everyone is watching every step you take and what shoes you're wearing," said Pamela Eyring, the workshop's speaker.

Ms Eyring, president of the Protocol School of Washington, an American business etiquette institute, spoke about "personal branding" and building a good reputation.

But much of the discussion centred on simple skills for any working woman, such as how to make a strong first impression, business body language, the importance of finding mentors and how to approach handshakes.

What should a woman do if a man offers his hand, but she does not shake hands for religious reasons? The women in the audience came to the consensus that they should bow their head to show respect, but place their hand on their chest or leave their hands behind their back. There is no need to apologise, Ms Eyring said.

Ms Eyring also urged Emirati women to speak louder in professional contexts and said she had noticed that many speak softly.

"In business, you want to be heard," she said.

A woman from the audience chimed in: "Though we're very soft-spoken, we get what we want."

Arab women face unique challenges, said Nawal Salem Al Saabri, who works for the Ministry of Health. "The Arabic community is different from the West," Ms Al Saabri said.

When she began working 25 years ago, there were not as many women in the UAE workforce. "They were very limited," she said.

But Emirati women today were capable and ready, she said.

"Women will be leading," Ms Al Saabri said. "Women are multi-taskers, they organise their home parallel with their work. If they are given the authority, they will make the change. A woman can be an ambassador. A woman can represent herself globally, in any nation."

vneriem@thenational.ae