Emirati Women's Day: Hire more women, say recruiters

Recruiters have called on universities to encourage female students to study stem subjects

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Recruiters are calling for employers in male-dominated sectors to take on more female staff.

"Employers should commit to a certain ratio between male and female wherever possible.
They should proudly communicate their intentions and results through press releases," said Hamza Zaouli, head of Iris Executives, a recruiter specialising in Emiratisation.

“Employers need to re-evaluate the image they portray of these sectors starting with their website for example. If they do not portray pictures of women in these jobs or promote these roles for women as well, then these employers will remain very intimidating for women.”

He called on schools and universities to invite female engineers to speak to pupils and students and said job fairs required a stronger female presence.


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He said most of the women engineers his team speak to credit a supportive home environment for their perseverance in a male-dominated environment. “Although it wasn't easy to study and work in a male dominated environment, it wasn't unsurmountable either because of the support they've had at home,” Mr Zaouli said.

Culturally, it was natural for Emirati women to prefer jobs in government and the education sector, he said.

“The reason is that being a career-driven woman is more demanding than being a career-driven man. Why? Because traditionally women are still expected to care for their children and their home, on top of having a career,” he said.

Watching women lawyers progress will motivate the younger generation, said Awatif Khouri, founding partner of Al Rowaad advocates and legal consultants.

“Firms may encourage them to take risks, involve them in management decisions, marketing initiatives and facilitate their efforts to step into leadership roles within or outside the firm.

2017 Emirati Women's Day

2017 Emirati Women's Day

“Serving on management boards of a start-up firm is a great way for women lawyers to get involved in the business community, acquire business acumen, and connect with other business professionals. Speaking or publishing are also great ways to gain visibility and recognition as industry experts, which serves well both the female lawyer and the firm.”

Educators say more involvement from the industry will boost student numbers in Stem courses.

Field trips and practical experience in industry will engage university students planning to take science, technology, engineering and math, analysts have said.

The Government too has provided incentives for Stem education in the form of financial aid and investment at the K-12 and university-level Stem education.

The number of Emirati students opting to enrol in Stem courses is gradually increasing, with engineering overtaking IT as the subject students choose to study, according to Dubai’s education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority. Still, about 70 per cent of students choose to study business-related subjects.

Zack Abdi, managing director of human resources consultancy Provectus Middle East, urged continuous changes so Stem is part of the education system.

“The UAE leadership has taken a lead in empowering Emirati women to propel to any positions. The education system needs review. Introduce Stem-principle based education curriculum and activities because the UAE is a commercial hub where time is the essence to success.”