Tag Archives: women

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?

To be a Woman

“The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.” Mohadesa Najumi

Women are in constant struggle of playing many hats at the same time. From a young age, a woman is asked to play a role of a nurturer and a lover, a driven person who is supposed to hold the family together, a center piece of the marriage where she must always be at her best in every aspect (because otherwise, there will be another woman to take her place), a woman who can hold her own, yet be flexible enough to let the man run the house, to be successful, while being the rock of the family, to age gracefully while fulfilling all the duties of a woman, to have children while maintaining a strong bond with her partner, she is encouraged to reach the top while still keeping her standards low enough for men to have a chance with her, she is taught to know her value, yet not be too picky with choosing a life partner, and the list goes on. Sounds like I am describing a super human, right? Well, I am because only a super human can do all of these things and still maintain sanity and peace of mind, while holding a perfect smile on her face. However, often this is what being a woman is like. Women are powerful, yet many do not recognize that. Women can do anything, yet many are held back due to lack of confidence or lack of support. Women can achieve anything, yet many are chained by the society’s expectations of what a woman should be or how she should act or who she should marry.

This is especially noticeable in patriarchal societies that I have lived in, such as Russia and the UAE. From my experiences (coming from Russia and being raised in such a society and then moving to the UAE and interacting with women here, I am speaking purely from my opinion and I do apologize if this might offend anyone), women are encouraged to pursue education and even post graduate degrees and work experiences, but once married, they are also asked to stay home and take a role of a housewife or they are discouraged from taking certain jobs, for example in banks and corporate offices, because those are not appropriate jobs for a woman. Yes, there has been progress in both countries, but it seems that it is just more hidden from the public eye and behind closed doors; there are still many cases of women who stay home because that is what a woman should do, according to culture and tradition. On the other hand, those who are brave enough to branch out and pursue their goals are often not the women who men choose to marry. Why? Because frankly she is too independent and many men don’t need that, they need to be able to be the man and they want to have a certain level of control over the woman. They fail to recognize and appreciate the value of an independent, strong woman, and undermine her ability to be who she is while letting him be who he is. Often times, men are threatened by a title or they wonder why a woman who is successful and beautiful is still single, which pushes them away from her. Thus, women are left with a dilemma: to be the woman she believe she should be or to be the creation of society’s rules and expectations.

I realize this topic has so many sub-topics and it would probably be best in a book; however, I just wanted to share my thoughts with you on this topic. I also came across a related article about being an independent woman and you can read it here: http://elitedaily.com/women/afraid-independent-woman/1100327/

What I want women to take away from this post is the fact that you are powerful and you do have a choice, and you can achieve anything. After all, you are superhuman!