Not giving in: Saudi women increasingly demand higher positions

Published April 12th, 2015 - 04:55 GMT
Omair explained that the ratio of Saudi women assuming senior administrative positions has increased from 19 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2014.
Omair explained that the ratio of Saudi women assuming senior administrative positions has increased from 19 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2014.

The Family Business Forum 2015, being held at the Jeddah Hilton, enjoys a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
At its 4th session, chaired by Asya Al-Asheikh, the issue of women’s empowerment in the family business was discussed.
Faten Al-Yafi, a business consultant, said: “The role of women in family businesses is very important in boosting the economies of the Kingdom and the Gulf states because it is regarded as the main pillar of the private sector in many commercial, investment and financial areas. This will surely help in driving forward the wheel of economic growth and diversification.”
Saudi women are capable of adopting many values to establish their active roles in realizing the comprehensive development witnessed by the Kingdom, not to mention their social responsibilities which in turn enhance their roles in achieving the required balance inside the frame of Saudi society, said Al-Yafi.
She explained that there are a number of issues that women face in family businesses, such as social issues, and the other challenges involving competition and dispute resolution.
“The role of women in the success of family businesses can be achieved by promoting their participation, organizing the relation between the firm and family, activating good governance, enhancing transparency and disclosure, and using women’s empowerment programs to help in their training to enable them to assume leadership position in family businesses,” she said.
Al-Yafi highlighted the elements for the success of women and their capabilities in successfully operating the firm. “This comes by acquiring leadership, social and legal skills, and promoting her participation in the decision-making process, strengthening her self-confidence in her personal, administrative, financial and legal capabilities,” she said.
Basma Omair, executive director of Khadija bint Khuwaylid Center for Businesswomen at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), briefed attendees on a study of the participation of women in Gulf family businesses. 
“The support provided by the founder or director of a family business to promote the role of women is very important and will positively reflect on the success of the business. It will also establish the work culture and community environment inside and outside the company that will have positive impacts on the productivity and the sustainability of the business and its contribution to national economic development,” she said.
Omair explained that the ratio of Saudi women assuming senior administrative positions has increased from 19 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2014. She said start-ups in particular were exemplary in promoting the status of women and will add to its already established recognition and balance in economic growth.
She reviewed the role of women in family businesses that are linked with the day-to-day operations of the business, and their role in the field of charity where a study found that 50 percent of women handle management of charities in their families, and more than 90 percent expect women to assume philanthropic activities in the coming years.


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