Dubai: With the International Women’s Day having been observed since 1909, women in Dubai talked to Gulf News about how they can take steps to bring about the change they want to see in society.
Manya Pamnani, director, Advisory and Consulting at Crowe Horwath: “I firmly believe that women themselves are very strong and only they can drive change. We have to believe in ourselves before others can entrust us. Society has seen women’s character like salt, her presence is not felt but her absence is, it’s time to make our mark,” she said.
“Beyond the efforts of women themselves, governments and societies can give women opportunities and an environment, which is conducive to their development. These opportunities can include running training programmes and women-centric entrepreneurship workshops, as well as seed funding/incentives for budding women entrepreneurs. Their dedication and commitment have to be valued because while women may have to take break for childcare, they are always able to deliver.”
Referring to this year’s theme #PressForProgress, Pamnani pointed out women should work towards their own visibility. “They should work on their strengths. A woman has to set her own KPIs (key performance indicators) and appraise her own performance,” she added.
Jasamin Fichte, solicitor: “Women have advanced at very different speeds in different parts of the world.
“Looking at the UAE, it is impressive how women have changed their attitude in a very short span of time and have moved into the working world at full speed. It is great to see today how many working mothers do wish to continue their careers. Women have to push for their right not to have to decide between family and career but to have both.”
Fichte highlighted the need of equal gender pay, which she describes as an important sign from authorities and industries that indicates that the work of women is valued in the same way.
Societies need to move forward and accept equality in relationships and in families. The main problem working women are still facing is that the upbringing of children is still mainly considered the mother’s role.”
Fichte said that offices need to look at flexible work solutions and more schools should offer full-day care. “Behind every successful woman is a very supportive husband.”
Monica Lois, 43, exhibition director from UK: “Women today hold many senior and leadership positions around the world.
“I have long worked with executives in the security industry, and have often felt like I am the only woman in the room. And to change this, we need governments and leaders around the world to promote education, including technical and scientific knowledge.
“I believe that having more women in leadership positions would make the world a safer and more tolerant place, especially because women possess a natural protective instinct. That being said, each woman should also work to overcome their own fears and learn to work with people from different backgrounds to promote tolerance and understanding in an increasingly fractured world.”
Mariam Almatari, 24, university student and part-time tourism executive: “Over the last century, women’s educational opportunities have improved immensely, and the world has made a lot of progress in ensuring fair opportunities for women everywhere. In previous generations, it was a rarity to see women being encouraged to work outside the home; today it is a common occurrence.
“Government policies go a long way in helping societies push their women forward. In the UAE, for instance, the vision of our leaders has always focused on supporting women’s education and empowerment. And this is why I have myself never felt that my gender has ever held me back from achieving my goals. At the same time, it is also our duty as women to ensure that we remain open to the opportunities available to us.”