Women’s Empowerment & Equality

By Roxana Jaffer
CEO, Sovereign Hotels (BVI) Ltd | Resident Director, Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha

Equality is a term that is loosely used globally. Demanding Equal rights and Equal privileges is in the vogue, but when it comes to according equal status on different aspects of life, it is often overlooked and even ignored by posing legitimate grounds.

One such area is Women’s empowerment and Equality for women at a workplace. It is a serious issue that deserves the attention of the corporate and social hierarchies.

The United Nations through its Global Compact (UNGC) journey for the business world asks its signatories in their letter of commitment to abide by its 10 principles.

The following principles relate to Equal Rights and Equal Privileges:

  • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed Human rights
  • Principle 2: Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
  • Principle 6: The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

In keeping with these philosophies, gender equality commences by implementing and providing equivalent opportunities to women employees, by according not only due respect but with equal pay and benefits. However, equal pay is something that all companies profess but do not follow in reality. In my opinion, women need to get more vocal and demand clear cut policies with their employers. If female employees toil as much as their male counterparts and are expected to devote the same man-hours, they should not be expected to settle for anything less.

In the competitive era when female employees are pitted against their male counterparts, winning jobs on grounds of meritocracy, but not accorded the same privileges. Very often, the HR departments sideline this issue quoting various reasons. Foremost being- the extra working hours put in by male employee, work hours flexibility and availability during crisis on short notice, which females may not be able to do. This does not stand true in the current time when many of the operations are handled remotely, delegated correctly or powered by technology. It is the overall evaluation of the proficiency and achieving monthly targets that should be studied while putting a stamp on remuneration.

To combat these frugal excuses, UNGC has yet got another tool, WEPs outlining 7 principles which signatories have to abide by.

As signatories of WEPs, Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha does not only abide by the principles by virtue of participation but believe in the ethos wholeheartedly and accordingly have in place, strict policies for Equal rights and Equal privileges promoting Gender Equality and progression through meritocracy, exercising zero tolerance if any of the policies are breached by any member of the management, regardless of position.

Further at Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha, we have following canons in place that gender equality and allow benefits for women on the walk of motherhood

  • Creation of equal business opportunities and sustainable mutual growth
  • Instilling strong work ethics, especially of tolerance in higher
  • Offering a supportive work environment with work hours flexibility
  • Ensuring equal pay for women

We understand that in today’s age, it is even more vital to develop a team of hardworking female employees who take a fair and equal share of remuneration with their male counterparts as they are equally committed towards corporate goals.

We at Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha know women can be the best managers, not as just business rhetoric but a proven reality – and promise to abide by the Women Empowerment Principles. We promise not to impose a sabbatical on women employees post motherhood, negating a culture of visible discrimination, and striving to lead by example.

Commitment to WEP’s is professed by the following statement, by Roxana Jaffer, CEO Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha, Director of Sovereign Hotels Ltd (Holding Company)

“The vision of our UAE leaders has allowed our small and young country to be counted on the global arena. It is the same visionary leaders, who not only approve a gender balance index, by promoting a gender balance council but create positions in the UAE cabinet for women, raising the representation of women to 27.5%.

Surely it is only natural, that the private sector in the UAE should follow suit by giving women equal opportunities, being committed to support women to achieve excellence and getting a higher representation especially in management.

We at Holiday Inn Dubai are very supportive of women as they exude compassion that helps to cultivate leaders of the future through their skills in team building and empowerment coming naturally.”