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Thu 24 Jul 2008 02:28 PM

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Emirati women 'can hit business heights'

Emirati Businesswoman of the Year says there has never been better opportunities for local women.

There has never been a better time for Emirati women to scale the highest levels of the business and corporate world, according to Emirates Businesswoman of the Year Maryam Al Bannai.

More than 40 percent of the staff at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), across all levels of the business - including in the boardroom – are women and Al Bannai, Vice President of Corporate Support Services there, is leading the charge to open up further opportunities.

Mariam Khalfan al Roumi, the UAE Minister of Social Affairs, told the UN General Assembly earlier this year that the number of women in the UAE national workforce had increased to 22.4 percent – the World Bank says that only 13 percent of the UAE workforce was made up of women in 2004.

And Al Bannai said: “Businesses in the Middle East are increasingly more open to harnessing the skills of Emirati women, and their experience is playing a key role in the growth and expansion of the region.

“Women are working alongside men in every area of the business world. The working environment has changed, and there is a positive atmosphere of teamwork and cooperation between employees,” she added.

Al Bannai now leads three departments of nearly 80 staff in the areas of Human Resources, Procurement and ICT (Information Communications Technology).

Al Bannai credits the vision of Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to promote the importance of women in society, that has given herself and others the opportunity to win leading positions in some of the UAE’s leading public and private organisations.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General DWTC, said: “DWTC promotes education and employment of UAE national women across all our business divisions. Enhancing human capital development and being an employer of choice is integral to DWTC’s strategy, and we focus on providing young talented Emiratis the ideal platform to further their careers and secure a bright future.”