A global study on entrepreneurs found the UAE to have an extremely low female participation rate in the workforce. When it comes to entrepreneurship the differences between men and women are striking: Men are 20 times more likely than women to be involved in a start-up or a young business venture. On the other hand the UAE is singular in having the highest rate of females enrolled in higher education in the entire world.
Due to this discrepancy UAE policy makers are committed to support more women in their endeavour to assume a leading role in setting up and running small and medium sized enterprises.
A workshop on “Females as Entrepreneurs – how to use unused potentials” jointly organised by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Regional Program Gulf-States (KAS), German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) explored opportunities for a higher female participation in business. Workshop participants analysed the capabilities of the next generation of female would-be entrepreneurs and possible means to encourage women assuming responsibility as contributors to social and economic progress of the country.
Regional experts as well as young businesswomen from the UAE discussed various measures of how to increase the number of businesswomen. Three working groups looked into social, educational and economic aspects and potentials of Emirati females to become successful entrepreneurs. Thomas Birringer, Regional Representative of the Gulf-States, KAS declared during the opening ceremony: “We are delighted about the successful cooperation with GTZ and DED. Together we would like to make our contribution to the sustainable development of the UAE.”
Dr. Gabi Kratochwil CEO of Cross Cultures Intercultural Management Training in her introductory note highlighted the importance of women’s contribution to economic growth: “Gender equality is not only valuable for women personally but also for supporting economic growth as well as the welfare of society in general. It is not a question of men and women competing with each other but a real partnership shaping the nation’s future hand-in-hand.”
Mr. Juergen Koch, Director of GTZ in the Gulf region, stated in his welcoming speech “all economic development programmes should pay special attention to the respective roles and responsibilities of women and men, and not merely attempt to include women as an afterthought”
This workshop presented potential policy implications and gave recommendations how to improve the conditions for females when starting and running a business, e.g. opportunities for child care. As a consequence of the workshop steps will be taken in Abu Dhabi to provide direct assistance to young female entrepreneurs.
The Workshop ended with the launch of a new socio-economic indicator “Business Women Role in Economy – the case of the UAE” presented by Mrs. Shorooq Al Zaabi Head of the DED’s unit for Future Studies and Development of Indicators.