Businesses in the United Arab Emirates should change the way they discuss gender, according to prominent business leader, Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg.
Speaking at a recent event, the managing director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group and president of the Dubai Business Women Council said: “We need to shift the discourse of gender equality to a genderless one. Or one dominated by business rationale, where gender means all genders and all of us as we are today, and where empowerment implies the releases of potential.
“Equality and diversity should be perceived as a means to engagement, better performance and innovation. This is not a ‘nice to have’ but an absolutely must have.”
Al Gurg added that gender balance – or “gender intelligence”, as she preferred to call it – would only be realised if women themselves knew what to do with their talents.
She said: “We have to believe in ourselves. We have to believe in our skills and we have to find those skills within ourselves and really nurture them. Every one of us has got that leadership skill inside us, but how to bring it to the surface – that is your job as a woman.”
In an exclusive interview with Gulf Business in 2015, Al Gurg urged said women should aspire to occupy leadership roles in this part of the world.
“I don’t see why women should not be at the top of businesses because there is nothing – at least in the UAE and Dubai – stopping them from growing. It all depends on you and how you want to move. Although [Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group] is my family business, I started from our warehouse in Ras Al Khor. I was literally counting and recording whatever was unloaded from our containers. I started from there and today I place orders in millions.
“Women have to push themselves, nobody can spoon-feed you that. You have to find your way. Everything is available in the UAE – our leaders have not put any barriers for women. And there are also many women who have really reached the top – we shouldn’t forget that.”
She also dismissed having quota systems in regional organisations to boost the number of women in leadership positions.
“Why should we have quotas? I think if I am capable enough, I will be recognised. Quotas always oblige you – you fill up roles without checking whether someone is capable or not. And sometimes you will end up having the wrong people around you – what’s the point? I think that’s not healthy. It doesn’t add value – that’s my opinion.”