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Women on the Rise in the UAE

The issue of gender inequality is one that exists in nearly every country across the globe.  Achieving equal rights and status in society has been a long and hard fought war with many battles still to come.  Even in countries such as the U.S. and the U.K.  there remains a great deal of inequality both publicly and privately.  In countries in Asia and the Middle East the inequality and differences are even more pronounced.  Fortunately, women in many of these countries are standing up and taking control of their lives and their futures.

In the UAE a group of determined and professional Abu Dhabi women have created the first female Emirati leadership group for helping women who are in or are aspiring to major careers.  The name of the group is Qiyadiyat which means “female leaders” in Arabic.  It was started by three friends, Laila Al Hassan – director of communications and PR at Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency, Bodour Al Tamimi – co-founder of Bedashing Beauty Lounge and portfolio manager of an investment house and Su-ad Yousif – an economic analyst.  The three become friends during university and as their careers have developed their friendship has strengthened.

The catalyst which spurred the trio into action was the discovery of only 1.5% of board positions in the GCC are held by women.  They wanted to explore why this is and help women who have the skills and the leadership traits necessary for developing high caliber careers.  The group had their first “High Q” gathering in February 2014 and they invited successful Emirati women employed in marine biology, energy, communications and many other diverse fields.  During this first conference they invited high profile leaders who have supported women joining the workforce and holding high level positions.  Hussain Al Nowais, chairman of the Khalifa Fund, and Ahmad Al Sayegh, managing director of Dolphin Energy, were both there to show their support and speak to women about how they can develop their careers.

The first meetings were small with roughly twelve people to a room in order to foster more intimate conversations which proved very productive.  The second High Q meeting has roughly 25 women per discussion, but each one was still small enough and thus it was again extremely productive.  What they groups have focused on in the beginning is personal branding.  Many women are very accomplished, but they don’t do a good job of speaking highly about themselves and displaying their accomplishments for others to see.  The group plans to increase the frequency of the sessions and hopes they can continue to be a positive force for networking with other women in high level careers.

Senaat Demonstrates Its Financial Adeptness

Senaat is a corporation that was created by the Abu Dhabi government and charged with investing the government’s money and helping it generate profit and revenue.  The other name for Senaat is the General Holding Corporation.  Last year the Senaat saw a net profit growth of 5% which gave the corporation a total of Dh923 million.  This is the corporation’s best year on record since its creation.  The corporation is responsible for the industrial section of the Abu Dhabi government; this means it oversees the government’s stakes in gas services, construction, steel, oil and more.  The corporation’s total earnings before depreciation, tax and interested was Dh2.1 billion.

The Senaat is vital to ensuring the diversification of the Abu Dhabi government’s holdings away from oil to ensure it is strong and healthy even when there is ups and downs in the oil markets.  The company at present employs well over 15,000 people.  The company’s strategy of investing in numerous industrial sectors has continued to prove successful despite the volatile economy last year.  Their revenues rose 16% to Dh13.4 billion and their total assets for that same period was Dh26.8 billion.  Hussain Al Nowais, chairman of Senaat said, “Senaat has completed the year with robust revenue and profit growth despite a volatile economic environment, thanks to the company’s flexible business model and its ability to weather the impact of market volatility and economic cycles”.

Another demonstration of the company’s success is its ability to reinvest in its own projects and new ones without the assistance of government funding.  The company’s financial strength should be able to help strengthen the Abu Dhabi and UAE government.  Hussain Al Nowais is looking to continue investing heavily in various industrial projects with an anticipated Dh5 billion over the next two years.  The company is also planning to continue its diversification of investments in order to widen the base of its assets thereby fueling further growth.

Subsidiaries of Senaat have continued to show increasing profits and growth despite intense competition.  The Emirates Steel was able to continue expanding and overcome Turkish and Chinese steel.  The Ducab joint venture between the Dubai and Abu Dhabi government has been able to maintain its position as a leader in the region for cable and wire manufacturing.  Several other subsidiaries in industries such as cement and food production also showed remarkably strong performances over the last year contributing greatly to the strength of the Abu Dhabi and UAE government.