The UAE is seeing a growing trend lately for women taking the lead in matters of finance, it seems – with many managing money matters in the household, and others taking up prominent positions within the finance industry.
A survey by web forum, Expatwoman showed 34 percent of women in the UAE take primary responsibility for the finance in their households, from organising bills to finding the best credit cards. It covered 500 women in the region who were questioned about their banking habits, and the outcome proved to outweigh the 30 percent of men who were found to take care of money.
Customs in the UAE mean that women have their own queues in banks and generally get served first, which perhaps provides a certain initiative in itself.
However, away from the home, women are acting as trailblazers within the finance industry too – with many women taking up jobs in main finance roles and top level positions.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank announced last year that it had appointed Aysha Ahmed Sultan Al Hallami; the first woman to sit on its board of directors.
Meanwhile, Dubai has also seen Huda Ali Redha Al-Lawati, a principal at Abraaj Capital and Hoda Abou-Jamra, founding partner of a multi-million dollar health care fund.
And more recently, Dalal Al Qubaisi, a 27 year old female entrepreneur has been voted onto the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s board of directors, five years after starting her own typing business. She now plans to use her position to boost local businesses – particularly amongst women, who she wants to help instil confidence in and teach skills.
Many other women in the UAE have also funded start-ups – ranging from the small, to very large businesses, with more and more women applying for bank loans to start up a new venture.
Female entrepreneurship has a fertile environment in the UAE; the UAE Constitution promotes gender equality, including equal pay under the Labor Law and the right for women to inherit property.
It has also been regarded a huge factor that 77 percent of women go to University in the UAE, so they are educated women who are well-equipped for the world of business.
And a report by Accenture found that UAE women are the most ambitious in the world – with 80 percent willing to take on more responsibility and challenges to get ahead in their career; compared with the global average of just 58%.
In 2007, a study by the International Finance Corporation revealed that a third of female-run enterprises in the UAE generated over $100,000 a year, compared with 13% of American female-led businesses.
This follows the government making it compulsory in December 2012 for corporations and government agencies to appoint women on their boards.
So there has definitely been a shift in the waters, where women are coming up and pushing through the glass ceiling to make a mark in the finance world.
And the general consensus is that continued support from the government, businesses and educational institutions are the key factors in ensuring more women are supported into their move into the financial sector. However, also more experience to give them a good grounding will also be a main component in defining their success.