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Women in Gulf still face workplace barriers
February 6, 2016, 6:22 pm

In its annual report on the status of women in workforce, international Human Resources firm Mercer warned that if current gender inequality in workplace continues unabated, then female representation in professional and managerial ranks worldwide will only reach 40 percent by 2025.

The report, ‘When Women Thrive’ also showed that in the Middle-East women still lag behind their counterparts in other parts of the world when it comes to gender equality in executive positions.

Though women have made some inroads into leadership roles in the government sector, their status in top private sector management continues to remain ‘bleak’, said the report. Calling for more awareness and action on the topic, the report’s authors say that despite a lot of promises to improve the lot of women in workplace, getting it implemented and sustaining progress still faces many obstacles.

Other highlights from the report show that women make up 40 percent of the average company’s workforce, they represent 33 percent of managers, 26 percent of senior managers and 20 percent of executives globally.

Pointing to the situation in the Gulf region, the report notes that several hurdles still exist that make it difficult for women to enter and to advance in the workplace. While women in some Gulf capitals have seized the initiative and started own businesses, this is far from the norm, and it would take years of strong support from business leadership to create sustained progress in this area.

Citing another anomaly in workplace gender representation, the report shows that women’s role in organizations actually declines as career levels rise. While there are more women among support staff, their numbers decrease significantly at they rise up executive levels. The report indicates that although women are 1.5 times more likely than men to be hired at executive level, they are also leaving organizations from the highest ranks at 1.3 times the rate of men, undermining gains made at top level management.

With input from nearly 600 organizations around the world employing over 3 million people, including 1.3 million women, the ‘When Women Thrive’ report is probably the most comprehensive of its kind on improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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