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Tue 24 May 2016 10:59 AM

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Gender inequality in workforce a major issue – Emirates NBD vice-president

Lubna Qassim says women need more support from male counterparts

Gender inequality in workforce a major issue – Emirates NBD vice-president

Gender inequality in the workforce is still a major issue in the GCC and around the world, according to Emirates NBD vice-president Lubna Qassim.

“As much as climate change is a problem and as much as were struggling in resolving poverty around the world, the issue of women's empowerment [in the workforce] remains a big challenge,” said Qassim at this year’s Arabian Business Women’s Forum.

“And it’s a challenge that is not pertained only to this part of the world – it’s a global issue.”

"Sadly, there is still inequality. The numbers are depressing. The reality is the world is still led by men and they are the real game-changers. It was 200 years ago when women were allowed to participate in the workforce and yet there are not enough women participating.”

Qasim said the solution was more support from male counterparts, pointing out Sheikh Mohammed’s 2004 decision to appoint the first female government official in the UAE.

Women make up 59 per cent of the national UAE workforce and 66 percent of the government sector. In the GCC region, the UAE has the largest number of businesswomen.

According to a study by ENY, it will take 198 years for gender parity to happen.

The Arabian Business Women’s Forum is an annual event that discusses various challenges of women in the workforce. This year, it features a panel discussion on Gender Diversity in Corporates as well as a presentation on what business executives really think about women leaders in the GCC.