Over the past few years the UAE has seen a boom in start-ups and online businesses. The influx of female entrepreneurs heading start-ups have systemically changed office culture, making it accessible for all genders, and giving a stronger voice to women in general.
In fact, the UAE is considered one of the best markets for business women. Back in 2017 the UAE pledged $50 million to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative fund. In fact, the UAE managed to close the overall gender gap by 64% in 2018. The UAE has started many initiatives to ensure gender equality in the workplace as a means to further their sustainable development goal, as it aims to be one of the top 25 countries boasting gender equality by 2021.
So what does a larger female workforce mean in real terms? What should we expect?
A Positive Change to Office Culture
Office culture is usually defined by the people on top. Start-ups are usually smaller in scale so it’s easier to bring people on board who can easily assimilate. More women in the workforce and at the helm means greater focus on tasks and a work environment that takes all its employees on an equal footing. More women in the workplace doesn’t mean men will be pushed to the back. It just means making more space in the ranks so they can stand shoulder to shoulder to take the company forward.
Domino Effect in Other Markets
The way companies cater to the market will change. Women before have been viewed as a big consumer group but never with an independent financial backing. The woman of today is smart, independent, and does not like to be pandered to. Now with more working women with personal money to spend the industries will have to change their marketing strategies. The insurance industry is already working towards female-friendly insurance packages that cater to their needs. Women have different priorities when it comes to car insurance. They have different buying patterns to men. Any insurance company with its fingers on the pulse of the UAE market would be wise to know what women want and cater to them.
Working from home will become a valid option for a majority of the workforce. Many women in the UAE and around the world have to meet a work-home balance. Not everyone has support at home. In the past this meant that a lot of talented women were kept from joining the workforce. Not anymore. Now all you need to make an office is a functioning laptop, and an uninterrupted internet connection. BuyAnyInsurance.com, an independent online insurance comparison website has an entire department of remote female employees. Women hailing from Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Pakistan make up the Content Development Team. They are given the freedom to choose their office hours around their duties at home. It is both empowering and validating for these women to be able to use their education and talent, without feeling the guilt of neglecting the home.
More Ideas on the Table
Women have a different world view to men. They experience elements of our society that men are unaware of. This is why they bring ideas with a new perspective to the table. The more organic ideas on the table the more likely it is that the company can produce something worthwhile. As mentioned before – women are considered a large consumer group. How can you design products for women without women on the design team? How can you develop products without their input? You can’t market to women if you don’t know how they think? Women are essential to the workforce because they make it more efficient.
Over 33 female-led businesses in the UAE were independently surveyed. It was found that all of them were generating revenue above $100,000. The figure is decidedly than any of the other countries surveyed. The UAE is fertile ground for female-owned enterprises. They can expect growth, and support from the government and partner institutions. Because the UAE believes that when they help women-led businesses grow, they help us all grow.
Credit: Sahar Rehan, Content Creator @ BuyAnyInsurance.com.
Also published on Medium.