The majority of UAE employees believe their employers are working towards creating a gender diverse workplace, according to a new survey from Monster Gulf coinciding with International Women’s day.
Sixty per cent of those polled by the jobs site said their organisations are putting in “considerable efforts” to ensure gender parity, with three quarters of those polled agreeing that gender equality should be a top priority for organisations, and half demanding it should be a “key priority”.
“While we have made considerable progress in breaking down gender diversity barriers, there is still room for improvement,” said Abhijeet Mukherjee, the chief executive of Monster.com - APAC & Gulf.
The survey of 2,000 men and women was carried out to tie in with International Women’s Day on March 8, and encourage the progression of gender equality and diversity in the workplace.
“The UAE has set out an objective of becoming one of the world’s top countries for gender diversity and equality by 2021, and I encourage all UAE organisations to aspire the same,” said Mr Mukherjee.
However, just over half of those polled said they were employed in male-dominated companies and 66 per cent of respondents said they report to male managers.
Seven in ten also said their employer has an uneven ratio of men and women employees, signifying a need to improve the balance in the workplace.
Sheikha Lubna bint Al Qasimi, a prominent UAE politician and president of Zayed University, told The National on Wednesday that ensuring school and university curricula equip female graduates with job-relevant skills is the most important way of boosting their participation in the workforce.
A number of UAE companies announced new gender initiatives this week to tie in with International Women’s Day. The UAE ride-hailing app Careem said on Thursday it planned to hire almost 20,000 women drivers across the Middle East over the next two years.
The company said it would increase the number of its female 'captains' – the company's term to describe drivers – in the 13 countries it operates in from the present strength of 500.
“It’s time for us and the entire industry to wake up," said Mudassir Sheikha, the ride-sharing app’s co-founder and chief executive.
Organisations such as the free zone Dubai Multi Commodities Centre and real estate advisory JLL pledged their support for gender diversity by signing up to the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) – Equality Means Business’ network, an initiative dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
According to the World Bank, women make up just under half of the Mena population and, in some countries, up to 63 per cent of university students. Yet they represent less than a third of the region’s labour force, compared to over half in the US.