A two-day conference beginning tomorrow in Dubai will look at how government policies can help working women maintain a healthy balance between the demands of job and home. The second annual Arab Women Leadership Forum at the Grand Hyatt, organised by the Dubai Women Establishment (DWE), will bring together 500 academics, policymakers, journalists and activists from the region and beyond to examine the challenges facing working Arab women and possible solutions.
"We want to draw the attention of policymakers and say, 'Come on, wake up, something needs to be done' to support women in their working life and with their families," said Aisha al Suwaidi, the head of the organising committee and director of the women's leadership development department at the DWE. The forum will address the sacrifices women have to make to keep working after starting families and how to better support them in both public and private spheres, including better workplace childcare options. It will also look at the role men can play.
One of the discussions, moderated by Dr May al Dabbagh, director of the gender and public policy programme at the Dubai School of Government, will focus on negotiation in the home and the workplace. "This year we are honing in and moving the discussion forward on leadership and the role that institutions can play in allowing leadership to emerge and flourish," Dr al Dabbagh said. Among the 18 moderators and panelists participating in the forum are Najwa al Qasim, a news presenter with Al Arabiya; Dr Kathleen McGinn, a professor at Harvard Business School who teaches about negotiations, power, influence and interpersonal decision-making; and Selma Aliye Kavaf, the Turkish minister for women and family affairs.