Empowering women through flexible work – ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ with Dubai Eye at Burj Al Arab

On 25 September, more than 60 women gathered at the superb surrounds of Gold on 27 at the Burj Al Arab to be part of the second session of ‘Levelling the Playing Field Series’ with Dubai Eye’s Brandy Scott. The afternoon event was made up of selected topics regarding the reality faced by women who want to get back to work after taking a career break in the UAE.

After welcoming everyone, Brandy Scott, moderator of the panel discussion, acknowledged the sad position women are put into when they have no other option but to give up their careers to raise their kids. “The idea that you have to be either dedicated to yourself or to your family is not helpful in this life”, she said. She also added that combining children with a career is possible, a statement that was key to the discussion.

Helen McGuire, Co-Founder of Hopscotch.ae and Louise Karim, MD of Mums At Work, were among the panelists that held the conversation around this issue, honoring their commitments as signatory members of the United Nations Global Compact Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). The panel also included David McKenzie of McKenzie Jones and experts in the field of negotiation, labor law, and HR.

The speakers shared their knowledge, insight, and advice on subjects that were a concern among the audience, such as career choices for women with kids, flexible jobs, maternity leave and career shift. The panelists also gave advice on how to upgrade negotiation skills and how to deal with the potentially tricky subject of telling your boss you are starting a family or that you would like more flexibility.

The women present were also inspired by the personal experiences that some of the panelists shared. These admirable women acknowledged some of their difficulties and anecdotes on how they manage to balance career and motherhood, as well as tackling difficult conversations and career choices.

During the question and answer session, a wide concern among the female audience showcased the lack of opportunity offered to those looking for a flexible job to get back to work; a reality that companies such as Hopscotch and Mums At Work are trying to overcome.

Women’s empowerment takes many different forms, and there’s no doubt that creating flexible jobs for talented women who want to partake on the workforce is one of them. Having this option available benefits business, women, and society.

If your company is also working towards women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community, and you are interested in becoming an active member of our task force, contact our Outreach Team at Hanane.Arif@socgen.com and malouf.ag@pg.com for more info.