Women in the workplace

In celebration of International Women’s Day, which is just around the corner on March 8th, many companies and institutions around the world are hosting series of events discussing various topics in regards to women, particularly women in the workplace. Dubai is also one of the cities who is hosting several events around this particular topic.

Today I attended a presentation by a speaker from McKinsey & Company (in Dubai) where she discussed different factors affecting women in the work force. She brought up some excellent points about various factors from a study that McKinsey conducted, this is focused a lot on the GCC region, but can be seen in different parts of the world. For example, the study found women tend to be less cocky compare to their male counterparts. Women spark debate and discussion when they are part of the management team, meaning that when it is all men in the room, they tend to agree very quickly and follow whatever the leader of the group says. Women on the other hand, tend to ask more questions and really debate on which strategy is best for a specific situation. Women also tend to be better leaders in terms of human development and tend to support their staff more in professional development opportunities. Now, I realize there are lots of points that can be argued here and I am not by any means trying to say that women are better or smarter, I am just stating facts and points that were discussed at this event, and I think we can all agree that they are probably true.

Nonetheless, the most important factor which was discussed is that a disturbingly high percentage of women do not believe they can be successful, while their male counterparts believe they will  be successful and deserve to be successful. It is interesting that women do not think they can be successful or have everything as men can. That being said, I can also admit that there are times when I do not feel confident enough to reach a certain level in my career or I am afraid of sacrificing family life to pursue a career. It is almost as if I was conditioned to feel guilty about the desire to be successful and reach my goals. The study also finds that women often feel guilty for leaving their children with a caretaker or leaving the house uncleaned. We, as women, want to make sure every aspect of our lives is taken cared of, while men are okay with just focusing on their careers. It seems that women get in a way of themselves. I believe we need to give ourselves more credit and take every opportunity that comes our way, even if we are not ready for it. Frankly, you may never be ready for some things, so just jump in and learn as you go. And, most importantly, believe in yourself, believe that you can and will be successful. You are, after all, the mother of generations to come! Young women need to have strong role models so we can start changing the way we think about ourselves and our success.

The society has conditioned women and men to behave in a particular way that if this trend is to be changed, it raises eyebrows. On the other hand, men also fall in the same trap. More and more men are becoming house husbands, with more women reaching top positions and making more than their partners. There is nothing wrong with this scenario, but once again this is something that the general public does not want to accept. There is plenty of work and further discussion that needs to take place for both genders.

Needless to say, this was a very interesting event and lots of sub sections to discuss here, but that is for another time. I would like to hear your thoughts about women in the work place. Do many women make it to the top at your company? Why or why not? If you are a man, would you consider being a house husband and taking care of the children and letting your wife bring the bread? Would your wife accept that? How do you feel about working for a woman in your workplace?

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