The Middle East has unfortunately been the epicenter of large scale conflict for decades now, and it appears as though it will continue into the near foreseeable future. While some countries have fallen apart and are struggling with less than desirable conditions others have managed to hold things together. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has done an exceptional job in maintaining a stable country that is productive and forward thinking. Their economy has continued to grow and do well despite the turmoil happening in neighboring countries. A major contributor to this success is their smart investment in public programs and overall financial plans.
This has kept the UAE as the second largest economy in the Middle East, second to Saudi Arabia. A major reason behind its economic success is the diversification of its economy. The UAE recognized early on the fragility and instability brought upon a country by relying solely on oil and natural gas exports. The country currently has a rapidly expanding manufacturing and services sector and tourism is a growing boon for the country. One of the major obstacles some still see in the economy is the lack of participation from women, especially in high level careers.
This led a group of three friends to create a group in Abu Dhabi called the Qiyadiyat which means “female leaders” in Arabic. This group is the first leadership group for women in Abu Dhabi and the group’s aim is to help and inspire networking opportunities for Emirati working women. The three women are Laila Al Hassan – director of communications and PR at Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency, Bodour Al Tamimi – co-founder of Besashing Beauty Lounge and portfolio manager of an investment house and Su-ad Yousif – an economic analyst. They met during their time in university and as their careers have developed their realization and understanding of the lack of women in high profile jobs has increased.
Now the three have held several conferences already discussing networking for women and how they can overcome the challenges they face in a male dominated workspace. Hussain Al Nowais spoke at one event and encouraged them to continue their efforts of showing society what they are capable of. He believes it is important for women to have a voice in the workplace and for their point of view to be introduced. Qiyadiyat is looking to become the go-to platform for UAE companies who want to find skilled Emirati women leaders.