In this annual report released to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018, we share the views of private-sector professionals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as the comparative global position from results accumulated over the past 14 years from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report.
Significantly, this year’s report finds that whilst businesses globally may have more women in senior management than in previous years, gender diversity gaps remain at a leadership level. The research suggests that organisations are ‘complying’ with the need for diversity to avoid an all-male leadership team, rather than creating an authentic and inclusive culture which leads to a genuinely diverse senior management team.
While the UAE faces similar challenges to the global trend, the government has embraced gender balance putting it at the forefront of its vision for the future. It has played a key role in encouraging and supporting women, and such initiatives have led to a marked increase in the representation of women in public-sector leadership roles. The UAE private sector, however, continues to lag behind and there is perhaps a case for public sector intervention beyond policies and legislation, particularly in respect of supporting and guiding the private sector to develop and embrace women into leadership positions.