The struggle for equality in the workplace and society for women has existed for a long time. While many countries in the west have made major strides there is still a ways to go. In other parts of the world the situation has not made as much progress. In Asia and the Middle East in particular we see men dominating a vast majority of the higher paying jobs and women often struggle to have a career equal to what the men have. However, women in some countries are beginning to step up and help those with the passion and education to network with the right people so they can make more progress.
In Abu Dhabi of the UAE a trio of women have come together to create the first female Emirati leadership group which helps women develop their careers. The name of the group is Qiyadiyat, meaning ‘female leaders’ in Arabic, was started by Su-ad Yousif – an economic analyst, Bodour Al Tamimi – co-founder of Bedashing Beauty Lounge and Laila Al Hassan – director of PR and communications at Abu Dhabi’s environment agency. The three originally met in college and afterwards have all found success in their respective fields.
As their careers developed, so did their friendship, but the trio noticed they had very few co-workers who were females. When they learned only 1.5% of board positions in the GCC are held by women they made the leap to start Qiyadiyat. The aim of the group is to create a platform for women with ambition to connect and network with like-minded people. Hussain Al Nowais and others have come to some of the first sessions of Qiyadiyat to encourage the women in pursuing their goals and to network with them. People are beginning to realize keeping skilled and intelligent women out of high level positions only hamstrings a company’s capabilities.
The company’s long term aims are to help women realize they need to decide their careers for themselves instead of allowing family to define it for them. They also hope businesses looking for strong and intelligent women will come to Qiyadiyat looking to network with the group. This will create a successful platform which is well known, thereby helping both women and businesses come together to find each other and create productive high-caliber relationships. The group now holds a session every two months and is planning to increase the frequency so that there are more options which will work for women who are busy and have difficult schedules.