One of the UAE’s foremost business personalities has called on Gulf women to take up frontline jobs in industry sectors such as energy, where they remain underrepresented.
“I think, of course, the sector they have not yet penetrated is the industrial area,” Raja Easa Al Gurg, president of Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), told Arabian Business on the sidelines of an event in Dubai.
“We are looking into the scope of changing the mindset of the businesswoman. Women do not need to only work as tailors or in the salon – yes, they have to think wide to see what is needed in this society.”
The businesswoman, who is also managing director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group and a board member of Dubai Chamber’s executive committee, revealed that there had been 236 percent growth in the number of women working in the UAE between 1986 and 2010.
She said that the total assets of businesswomen in the country amounted to $12bn, and that women made up 33 percent of the workforce of the UAE.
However Al Gurg warned that small businesses – in which local women are particularly active - had been left exposed by the financial crisis.
“I think the small businesses are the critical ones that are really facing those challenges because of the banks, and the banks have stopped all facilities that they were giving to business ladies,” she said.
“Our role is to show those ladies that there are ways and means to overcome these challenges especially in this period. They need to re-evaluate their business…and see how much they can face these challenges and cut down their overheads.”
She also warned that some companies might have hired too many staff during the boom period and that restructuring was necessary in some cases.
“What we’ve found is that even though lots of people might have left a business, that business managed to maintain its status. It seems that maybe we have to re-look and reorganise the thinking of business ladies – don’t overemploy beyond what is required,” she said.