UAE’s Badiri pledges to advance women’s role in future labor market

By Salma C, Intern Reporter
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Badiri roundtable conference

UAE-based Badiri Education and Development Academy, the knowledge and capacity building arm of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), has emphasized its commitment to empowering women with knowledge and skills development, at the roundtable conference organized at the Expo 2020 Dubai, Women’s Pavilion.

The roundtable titled, ‘Women and Future jobs: What It Takes to Succeed’ also stressed shaping women’s developmental journey and preparing them for the changing nature of the workplace by equipping them with upskilling and reskilling opportunities.

The conference organized in partnership with Education for Employment (EFE), Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, HSBC, LinkedIn, and Coursera, took place on the sidelines of the Global Goals Week, which was held in the UAE for the first time outside of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The NAMA affiliate brought representatives from international organizations and learning providers to stimulate conversation on opening new doors for women’s future work requirements.

At the event, Badiri also promised its support to building a skilled, mobile, and tech-savvy female workforce and closing digital gender gaps in the workplace through a comprehensive and integrated curriculum designed to equip females with the necessary personal and professional skills development to advance them into the future.

In the opening speech, the Manager of the Badiri Academy, Dr. Mona Al Ali, spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered permanent shifts in today’s work. Citing a recent research report,  the Manager added, “20 percent of women employed today will see their jobs replaced by automation by 2030 and more than 52 percent of these comprise of jobs in the services and clerical sectors. This means millions of people worldwide will be faced with career shifts or must retrain for new kinds of work. Developing skills that are in demand is essential to providing women the flexibility and mobility to transition to the new world of work.”

The Badiri Academy Manager further added that, “H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of NAMA, believes that information and knowledge should be accessible to everyone. By providing vast resources and training for women, Badiri ensures equal learning opportunities and aims to break the cycle of structural and societal barriers that prevent women’s economic empowerment and advancement in the workplace.”

Moderating the session, Ms. Dima Najim, Managing Director, Education for Employment-UAE, stated that the undeniable change in the labor market caused by the fourth industrial revolution and automation requires a new approach to addressing gender gaps in the labor market. Citing ILO statistics stating that only 18 percent of women in the Arab world participate in the labor force, Ms. Najim hoped that the insights and recommendations in the panel discussion would ensure a smooth transition for women in the MENA sector to future jobs.

Addressing the roundtable, Mr. Abdulla Al Nuaimi, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, Assistant Under-Secretary for Communications and International Relations, stated that the development of female talent pool is essential to bring a key change across several industries, as diverse teams lead to more innovation, especially at a time of rapid shifts in the way businesses operate.

“The pandemic has advanced changes to working practices at a much faster pace than we could have anticipated, and women, in particular, were hit hard by these changes. The empowerment of women is at the heart of recent reforms introduced in the UAE’s labor law, which sets a framework for supporting the many roles that women play in society and will pave the way for achieving gender equality in the workplace,” Mr. Al Nuaimi added.

Meanwhile, Ms. Lara Jean Chaaya, Government Partnerships Manager, Coursera, remarked that, “Our research suggests that gender gaps in online learning narrowed during the pandemic, even as gender employment gaps widened. We are particularly encouraged by how women in the UAE are embracing online learning in the field of STEM. We strongly believe that a tight collaboration between governments, businesses and universities is helping create more opportunities for women.”

Dr. Ron Young, Founder of Knowledge Associates International group of companies, said in a virtual address that, “New hybrid, physical and virtual, knowledge competencies and performance management systems are emerging. But the key future demand and new employment opportunity for women will be for those that can learn to produce faster knowledge-driven results, through personal and team knowledge management systems.”

Related: DEWA Pavilion at Expo 2020 attracted over 338k visitors until Dec 31