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200 participate in Women’s Lunchbox event

Dubai, February 26, 2013

Two hundred women from a cross section of industries recently gathered together for the second annual Women’s Lunchbox event, hosted by Murdoch University in Dubai.

The leading women debated whether a ‘glass ceiling’ really exists or if there has been a tangible shift in attitude towards women in the workplace, a statement from the university said.

The Women’s Lunchbox 2013, which has become Murdoch’s signature event to highlight the scope of its research and student-led initiatives, took place at Madinat Jumeirah and played host to a panel of five industry specialists.

The event’s panellists were Hala Kazim, founder of Journey Through Time; Jayshree Gupta, partner at DLA Piper ME; Angela Maglieri, regional director of marketing at Al Tamimi Group; Leigh Ann Jones-Khosla, director of business development, education cluster - Tecom Investments; and Jennifer Hardie, CEO of Pinnacle PR.

Raja Easa Al Gurg, managing director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group and president of the Dubai Business Women’s Council was the keynote speaker at the forum. Al Gurg, who ranks 5th in the top 100 most powerful Arab women of 2012, shared her achievements and challenges that she faced along her journey to the top. Her advice to students and aspiring females was to maintain a positive attitude and take responsibility for their future successes, the statement said.

The three-hour discussion questioned the myths surrounding the glass ceiling in a country that has long positioned itself as a hub for women’s empowerment. This year’s chair, TV presenter and producer Katie Fielder put the panel under the spotlight to ascertain their views on what sets these women apart from their female peers and how they have overcome the challenges of competing with their male counterparts.

In addition, the role of education was discussed at length, especially in light of new statistics that show Emirati female graduates outnumber their male peers, with 70 per cent of Emirati students being female. However, the debate revealed that this figure wasn’t translating into economic participation and opportunity.

The consensus of the group was that a “positive attitude” and “rational thinking” is paramount to success, and education is vital in giving women the right skills to make a mark within their industry, the statement said.

“If we believe a glass ceiling exists, then probably it will and may well limit professional growth. Success is directly related to what any individual, man or woman, makes of the opportunities and challenges they face and it will be this alone that defines them and their path in life,” Jones-Khosla said.

“Having worked more than 25 years, most recently in the education sector, I understand the role that education can play in preparing women for the workplace and giving them the tools they need to get ahead.”

“Women have faced tremendous changes over the last decade from both a personal and professional perspective,” Kazim said. “Moving forward can be difficult; challenges can come in different forms and from unexpected quarters. The key to success is creating a stable and sustainable lifestyle that will re-invent and revive areas of our lives where change becomes a positive constant.”

“Nothing propels women to leadership roles more than their passion, focus and determination,” Gupta said.

The Women’s Lunchbox event is Murdoch University’s unique initiative catered exclusively for women for learning, business networking, and sharing of ideas. In an endeavour to encourage women to advance in leadership roles by developing key competencies, the university offered a Dh10,000 ($2,721.88) fee waiver to applicants applying for their postgraduate courses at the event.

Professor Grainger, pro-vice chancellor of Murdoch University in Dubai, said: “Women who set their career sights on the very top management positions are actively preparing themselves for enhanced future leadership roles by educating themselves.”

“These changing attitudes stress the importance of high-quality local and international education in the UAE. As the UAE continues to assume an increasingly important role in global forums, and the local economy grows, I see the glass ceiling as increasingly fragile, and on behalf of Murdoch University in Dubai I wish all such aspirants to influence success in their quest.”

The Women Lunchbox 2013 was held in association with Khaleej Times, and long-term sponsorship partners - Aldo, Emirates NBD and Dubai Business Women’s Council.  The event has also been supported by Dubai International Academic City, Arabian Business and DLA Piper. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: UAE | Dubai |

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