Emirates Providing More Opportunities to Business Women
Opportunities to Business Women If you are comparing the United Arab Emirates with its gulf counterparts like Saudi Arabia when considering women entrepreneurship, think again!
The situation in the Emirates is a lot different than its neighboring countries. In fact, there is an increasing wave of local women actively looking for entrepreneurship opportunities, and this is not a recent wave. The UAE has opened its doors and markets to women entrepreneurs from the last ten years, and the things are looking up for these aspiring women. Even though considering the culture of the Arab world, gender biasness from older and the more conservative local men is still a possibility, you will still encounter women in all sectors of business on a day to day basis.
If we consider the literacy level of women in the UAE, they makeup almost 70% of the graduates from the region, and 44% of the workforce. That is almost half of the workforce comprising of women, showing a clear sign of how important educating women and bringing them into the workforce is, in the UAE.
There are a number of reasons behind this drastic change in the gender proportions of the workforce and these include:
- The overwhelming number of expatriates working in the region
- The multinational corporations who have infused the cultures from their origin into the UAE culture
- Beneficial changes to visa policies, allowing female expats to try their luck at entrepreneurship in a diverse, international market like the UAE
- Establishment and success of the Dubai Women Business Council (DWBC), promoting business opportunities in Dubai
- Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) actively promoting gender equality in the UAE as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
In fact, in March 2018, Womena, a Dubai based angel investment group focusing on women, introduced “Womentum” – an accelerator program for female founded startups that are in their early stages. Other programs like “Women-able” have also contributed by empowering women with guidance on confidence building and practical business skills. The results have been amazing. A recent study reviewing the social and economic pressures that limit the growth of female entrepreneurship in the Gulf found that promoting women entrepreneurship in the UAE has been effective in fading the business as well as culture-related barriers that may restrict women from stepping out. The engagement of women with the community has improved by a milestone.
Today, the women of the UAE do not find themselves fighting for liberation or for entrepreneurship opportunities any more than women in any major city in the US, UK or Europe. Yes… They can drive a car and start their own business, and faceless gender discrimination than they used to. The point of struggle is where they need to seek startup finance, but the struggle is the same across the board, irrespective of gender, since a business setup in Dubai requires a business plan that is viable and feasible.
The best example is the nation’s national carrier that is empowering women to boost their confidence in this male-dominated society, making up over 40% of Emirates Airline’s workforce.
For more information, stay tuned for more blog posts.
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