“Whatever a women does in the workplace is placed under the microscope,” says Abir Khaled, occupational health team leader at the Supreme Petroleum Council/Adnoc.
Mrs Khaled, a mother of three, described the double standard that exists in the workplace between working men and women. “If a man says I need to head home because my mother is ill, or there’s been a flood at home, no one bats an eyelash, whereas the minute a woman says she needs to pick up her child from school, everyone is like – there you go, she’s a working mom.
“I’ve always believed that women have to work twice as much just to get half the recognition of a man,” she said. “There are plenty of things, be it attention to detail or multitasking, that the women excel in over men, and add to the company.”
Mrs Khaled said that another issue was men who ran their own businesses on the side while also pursuing a full-time job. “These men often have to step out to attend to their businesses. Why don’t employers look at that as a distraction?”
Women often felt like they had been given an ultimatum, Mrs Khaled said. Much of this, she said, had to do with social conditions that relieved men from responsibility at home.
“When a women has a career, she still has the responsibility of running the house. It’s a little easier for me because I work for a government company, but sometimes I feel like if I wasn’t a working mom I could be more patient and relaxed at home, and with my children. Policies need to be created that help encourage women to be in the workforce without making them feel like they must choose between a career or family.”