Stress at work: Emirati women fit into new roles

My column last week on the role of Emirati women, elicited much interest, so I approached a colleague of mine Professor Nick Forster from Zayed University for some of his research on the topic.

Although Emirati women have made remarkable advances in the workplace over the last decade, it perhaps is not surprising that many of them still encounter barriers in their careers. For example, while the Global Gender Gap Report 2010, places the UAE in first position among Arab countries for equality of opportunity for women; in global terms, it is still near the bottom.  Given the access that Emirati women have had to higher education and the workplace for more than a decade, why does the UAE still have this low international ranking?

Research

Professor Forster has surveyed several hundred Emirati men and women over the last two years, to ascertain if their attitudes towards women in the workplace are changing and his research indicates that there are three principal factors.

 The first factor is cultural. The UAE is still a very traditional Islamic society, with deeply-held beliefs about the appropriate public and private roles of Emirati women, and their responsibilities to their communities and families. His preliminary research findings indicate that only about one-quarter of Emirati men are fully supportive of women pursuing professional careers and becoming business leaders.  Although older Emirati men are generally more conservative in their attitudes, there is a significant minority of younger Emirati men who believe that a woman’s primary place is in the home.

 The second factor. While there is some participation in the private sector, and more Emirati women have become involved in business start-ups, the proportion working in this area remains insignificant and few work in science or, technology. In fact, almost all Emirati women still choose to work in the public sector. They can earn good salaries, are able work in environments that are respectful and, because of the working hours, they can generally enjoy a good work-family balance.

The third factor.  Almost all of the Emirati women he interviewed said that the longer working hours expected in private sector organizations remains a barrier, and is one that had a significant influence on their choice of careers. It is one of the main reasons why many young Emirati women still choose to work in public sector organizations. It is also clear that those Emirati women who do work in the private-sector have greater challenges in balancing their demands of their jobs and with those of their families.

But, if more Emirati women are to emerge as business leaders in the future, they must develop their self-confidence and, perhaps, renegotiate their responsibilities with their families. The challenge for the UAE is to create an environment where Emirati women can pursue any career they choose in the future, and know that they will be judged on the basis of their work performance and not on their gender.

The role of the Emirati Businesswomen

  1. Emirati women still encounter barriers to work outside the home
  2. Long working hours are detrimental to domestic harmony
  3. There is still male opposition to females in business and leadership

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact workplace stress management presentations and organisational change strategies.

See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  Or check-out our latest ideas about stress help, instant acces to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L  and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk


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Managing the Royal Pressure at Work

It has been announced, in Britain, that the heir to the throne, Prince William, is to marry Kate Middleton, next year.  Marriage is a major decision for any of us to make but Kate will be joining the British royal family, and will become the wife of a future King of England. And that means that she will also be starting a new job and there will be enormous stresses to overcome, at least in the beginning.    

When she takes on her new position as the future Queen consort, there will be the expectations she has of herself together with the expectations that others have of her and that means a careful balancing act.

Already the media have been comparing her with Prince William’s late mother, Princess Diana, but she will have to make her own mark as an individual. That will be easier said than done as she will be expected to conform to British tradition and the expectation of the public.

Will she fit in with the rest of the team, which in this case is the Royal family?  The customs, traditions and royal protocol will be a learning process, and without doubt,  she will make some mistakes along the way. 

Adjustment

But the same goes for any of us when we take on a new job and have to make adjustments.  Kate will need to learn to communicate and negotiate her way within a new, royal environment upon which the spotlight is never switched off .

She will have to prove herself to be adaptable and flexible, as obviously, she was not brought up to be Queen the same way as William was brought up to be King.  However, she will bring with her a new perspective and new ideas that will assist in making the royal family one that is at ease both with itself and with the British public.  But she will have to watch out carefully for the conservative ‘old guard’ who may attempt to oppose any change and who guard their rights and privileges, jealously.

High-Profile Stress

And, of course, Kate’ s new, high profile role is one in which the whole world will be watching her actions, her body language, her every move and every word that she says, because the simple response of ‘I do’ at her wedding ceremony will ensure that she will never be a private person again, ever. She will become ‘public property’ and she will need to quickly learn how to manage the stress of high levels of security and the attention of the Paparazzi.

Having said that, she will have as her mentor her future Mother-in-Law, Queen Elizabeth II, who has been such a wonderful role model over the past half a century that she will be learning from a true expert.  I certainly wish her, and her Prince, the very best of luck, joy and happiness in the future.

What are you experiences of starting a new job?   Do leave us your comment in this column now.

Royal Stress Tips

  1. There are stresses for everyone both in marriage and in a new job.
  2. The future Queen consort will need to learn ‘the ropes’ quickly
  3. Kate Middleton will never be a private person again

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact workplace stress management presentations and organisational change strategies.

See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  Or check-out our latest ideas about stress help, instant acces to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L  and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk


 

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