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Mena women ‘treated equal to men at work’

Dubai, June 26, 2011

Two thirds (68 per cent) of working women in Mena feel they are treated equally to men at work and less than one in seven (15 per cent) think they are treated unfairly compared to their male colleagues, said a report.

Nearly three in five (57 per cent) who feel that the system of appreciating, recognising or rewarding employees is based on performance alone and not on gender, added the survey ‘The Women in the Middle East Workplace - 2011’ carried out by the Middle East’s number one job site, Bayt.com, and research specialists, YouGov.

The interesting accumulated results derived from survey reveal various elements of women’s role in the workplace, focusing on numerous aspects including their opinions, approaches, capabilities and contentment.

Despite working the same amount of hours as men, a third (31 per cent) of women feel they receive less pay than their male colleagues rising to almost half among GCC nationals and Asian expats, the report said.

Also, more than half (52 per cent) of married working women reveal they earn less than their spouse, with just one in five (19 per cent) who claim to earn more.

The comprehensive survey also shows that besides earning less pay than men, about a third (31 per cent) of working women think they have less chance of being promoted than their male counterparts, again rising to about a half among GCC nationals.

However, after disclosing that information, interestingly 25 per cent of those same working women did state that they would prefer a male boss than a female boss. This is probably due to the fact that most career women are used to working under male management, with three quarters (76 per cent) of working women currently reporting to a male boss.

Only 7 per cent of working women feel that they work less hours than their male colleagues, and 17 per cent claim they work longer hours while a majority of 63 per cent feel they work almost an equal number of hours as their male colleagues.

Additionally, while 7 per cent of the women, within Mena, stated they worked in a ‘women only’ work setting; 84  per cent said they worked with a mix of both genders, 9 per cent said that although their work place has a mix of both men and women, they are segregated from their male colleagues, according to the research.

“Through this study of exceptional analytical surveying skills, we have attained vital results that were needed – in order for Bayt.com to provide a better platform for women who are working and/or are pursuing a new and better professional career,” said Amer Zureikat, VP Sales, Bayt.com.

Almost 23 per cent (three in five) feel that prospects for women have substantially improved in their country of residence, but one in five (19 per cent) do not think there have been sufficient improvements.

Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov, said: “These understandings help to offer suggestions that can eventually encourage change towards greater workplace equality.”

“Data such as this concluded from the survey offers a wide array of benefits to HR industry professionals, recruiters and online jobsites like Bayt.com, by providing detailed, considered insights into what it really means to be an employed woman in Mena, while offering a highly interesting oversight of the reasons and meaning that women attach to their work,” he added.

Top benefits offered to working women are paid maternity leave according to 42 per cent of working women in the region, family health insurance at 32 per cent and training at 26 per cent coming to the conclusion that women in government/semi government roles or internationally owned companies are better off with less chance that none of these benefits are offered.

When it comes to maternity leave, over a quarter (27 per cent) of working women are not satisfied with the maternity leave and benefits available to them, with 25 per cent stating they get a maternity leave period of three months or less.

The main barriers facing women in the region seem to be family ties and priorities at 24 per cent and traditional society stereotypes and taboos at 14 per cent, said the report.

This is supported by the fact that half (17 per cent) of single working women think their future marriage plans will affect their career choices to a large extent. Interestingly, having children is seen as less disruptive than marriage with only a quarter (27 per cent) of working women with children who think their kids have negatively impacted on their career.

The top reasons given by women for wanting to work are to become financially independent (52 per cent) and to be able to support themselves or their household financially (48 per cent). The importance of salary is also highlighted by the fact that a higher salary would be enough to influence over two thirds (69 per cent) of women to change their job.

However, women are clearly working for more than just money with almost two thirds (63 per cent) who would continue to work even after achieving all their financial goals, and only15 per cent saying they wouldn’t.

“In following and observing this data, businesses and industries across the entire region can benefit from the results, allowing women to adjust, or grow within their working environment, as well as change behaviours for promoting gender equality,” Zureikat said.

“The objective was to understand perceptions and attitudes of working women in their role and experience in the workplace, which is an immensely significant instrument in finding out the true nature of the business environment from a woman’s perspective in the Middle East and North Africa today,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Mena | Dubai | Salary | Bayt.com | Survey | Bayt | Working women |

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