x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Women in the Arab Spring

Will women benefit from the gains earned during this year of political upheaval? Readers believe the answer can be yes. Other leter topics today: unwanted SMS messages, banking woes and questions on Estidama.

The Dubai Debates topic of women's role in the Arab uprisings, including the Tahrir Square protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak, elicits different points of view from readers about historical trends. Tara Todras-Whitehill / AP
The Dubai Debates topic of women's role in the Arab uprisings, including the Tahrir Square protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak, elicits different points of view from readers about historical trends. Tara Todras-Whitehill / AP

The Arab Spring offers new possibilities of empowering women by providing them equal opportunities in education and employment. However, in the article Arab Spring 'may set women back' (December 20), Dr Ebtisam Al Ketbi from UAE University expressed her fears about Salafists who believe that women need constant protection and that their place is only at home instead of the office, shops or factories.

If women are denied employment or socio-political roles, they will not strive for higher or professional education.

Fear is the basis of all sorts of suppression and denial of freedoms, including employment and justice for women. Some men have made effective use of religion to suppress women so as to make them weak and submissive.

History teaches us that even in the Arab World, women have played a vital socio-economic and religious role.

And with the emergence of political stability, rule of law and universal education, women are made equal before the law. Empowered women do not need any special protection or support from men as they too can earn and serve society, sometimes in a better and more efficient way than men.

Any society will remain poor and backward as long as it does not empower the women. A root cause of poverty, backwardness and illiteracy in the Arab World is its inability to make use of the vast and untapped power of women.

Dr Raju Mathew, Al Ain

This is yet another case of defining acceptability by the western norm. The hangover of colonialism is still hovering over the minds of educated women using the western model.

If they bothered to investigate, these so-called Arab feminists would discover that the rise of women's rights in the West was during the Second World War when there were fewer men to do jobs.

JB, UK

du responds about unwanted SMS

With reference to the letter SMS message should be blocked (December 9), we are delighted to inform the letter-writer that we do offer an opt-out for our customers who no longer wish to receive promotional SMS messages from us.

This is in accordance with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority's Unsolicited Electronic Communications Regulatory Policy. To stop receiving promotional messages, our customers simply need to send a blank SMS to 5293. We will process their request within 14 days.

Saleem AlBalooshi, senior vice president, customer operations, du

Banking as model of Emiratisation

Regarding the article Bankers work hard to improve staff skills (November 30), overall banks have been reducing head-counts globally and I believe that the situation is no different in the Gulf.

However, banks do require people with special skill sets especially when a new business is started or if there is a major change in the product offered. Instead of retraining the resources, banks might adopt a strategy of sacking the existing staff and recruiting an experienced banker with relevant skill sets.

Banks do this when there is an abundant supply of human resources and a huge pressure to bring in revenues on day one.

Localisation in the Middle East has met with challenges, too, as banks can no longer just hire a group of college kids and expect them to have a good time. Banks are hiring locals with customer-centric and banking backgrounds. There is a lot of investment put in training the young graduates to take up roles in different departments in the bank.

Banking is one industry where localisation has worked very well. In the UAE, Emiratisation is a success story that could be repeated across the Gulf. Over a period of time, Emiratis have grown to take up strategically important positions in banks.

I think localisation will be fully successful when you see a 30 per cent ratio of Emiratis at DIFC banks.

Tony Hales, Dubai

Missing links in Estidama article

In reference to the article Estidama starts to win over doubters (December 18), I checked the Estidama website and it says the goal is: "To assure that sustainability is continually addressed through four predefined angles: environmental, economic, social and cultural."

The article doesn't talk about the progress made on the economic, social and cultural angles.

If what the engineering consultants say is true - that only big developers like Aldar know about what is in the mandatory code and many small developers are unaware of it - then Estidama must do more. It must begin to take the message to all the stakeholders - that is the people of Abu Dhabi.

Santosh S, Abu Dhabi