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Going the extra mile for equality

Going the extra mile for equality

Despite a slight improvement in gender equality, women make up just 15 percent of the working population in some Gulf states.

March 4, 2010 2:49 by

In January this year, Bahrain’s Labor Minister Majeed al-Alawi said that the country had allocated BD24 million ($63.6 million) to help 4,500 university graduates – of which 75 percent are women – find private sector jobs within the next two years.

In her report last year, al-Shamsi also said that the number of women continuing with higher education in the GCC has increased by over 90 percent in the last three years, thus allowing them to take up “high positions” in society. In fact a PricewaterhouseCoopers report last year said that, at 77 percent, the UAE is registering the “highest rate of women in higher education in the entire world.”

The second Arab Women’s Leadership Forum held in Dubai in January this year attracted more than 600 women working in the public sector, NGOs and private firms from across the Middle East.

“Women [in the region] are incorrectly perceived as not serious about building their careers,” May al-Dabbagh, director of the Gender and Public Policy Program at the Dubai School of Government, told Forbes at the event. “The work they do is viewed as an interim step before leaving to get married or have children. This shortchanges the commitment and clout of this group,” she said.

However women in the region are highly motivated about their careers, says the Forbes report. It quotes a new study to be released in June by the research firm Center for Work-Life Policy, which found that women in the UAE love their jobs, and 90 percent of them are willing to go the “extra mile for their companies.” It also says that their level of ambition is nearly 2.5 times higher than that of their American counterparts and that 92 percent of the UAE women hope to hold a top job.

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  1. Miss Anne Thropic on March 7, 2010 12:40 pm

    OK, Saudi, here’s a tip. Why not end the absurd sex segregation so men and women can work in the same room? While you’re at it, pass a bunch of serious sexual harassment laws just in case of the unlikely event of mixed gender workplaces causing an outbreak of office fornication. And then let women drive so they can actually get to work more easily and do jobs where road travel is involved. Easy!

  2. Andrew on March 8, 2010 7:16 am

    Saudi’s idea of going the extra mile for equality would be handing out shoes with rollers in the heels, so it would hurt their women less when they drag them around by the hair.


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