Fostering Gender Diversity in Gulf Workplaces

Pearl Initiative and NAMA call for a business-first approach to foster gender diversity in Gulf workplaces.
Pearl Initiative and NAMA call for a business-first approach to foster gender diversity in Gulf workplaces.
During the two-day workshop titled ‘Making the Business Case for Diversity’ organised by Pearl Initiative in partnership with NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA).
Two one-day workshops titled ‘Making the Business Case for Diversity’ were held by the Pearl Initiative in partnership with NAMA Women Advancement Establishment. The workshops were held in the UAE and Kuwait.


February 10th, 2020, Sharjah (UAE): The Pearl Initiative, the business-led non-profit organisation promoting a culture of corporate transparency and accountability in the Gulf Region, organised a series of one-day workshops recently in partnership with NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), to discuss ways in which Gulf Region businesses should support its women employees for organisational success.

Titled ‘Making the Business Case for Diversity’, two one-day workshops were held at The Executive Office of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi in Sharjah, UAE, and the Movenpick Hotel and Resort Al Bida’a in Kuwait in the presence of industry leaders, experts in the field of diversity training, consulting, HR professionals, and employees representing all sectors of the region’s economy.

The workshops were designed using the research undertaken by Pearl Initiative and NAMA in 2019 that examined factors that continue to hinder and facilitate women’s career success, and to build up strategic solutions to create a supportive environment for women in the regional workforce.

The first session of the one-day workshop touched upon the landscape of gender diversity in the Gulf Region, where diversity in businesses was assessed across the region and globally, and delved into the social and economic factors hindering women’s workforce engagement and participation while also calling for developing a holistic framework to design practical solutions to support women in the workforce.

The second session focused on building inclusive businesses and employees. It provided insights into the utility of various diversity-focused policies, addressed unconscious biases in workplaces, and presented local and regional case studies demonstrating the business value of gender diversity. The second session also featured experts on diversity and inclusion from PwC Kuwait, who introduced the policies and structures implemented by the organisation to implement and entrench inclusion for all employees.

In a statement, HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, said: “Investing in gender inclusion empowers businesses to thoughtfully implement policies that create the culture shift required for meaningful results. Women have the talent, drive and knowledge, and it is imperative to create awareness amongst organisations of the tremendous benefits derived from fostering a culture of inclusion. Creating equity and removing bias in executive decisions and policies can open the floodgates for women to enter and advance in leadership positions, empowering them to contribute substantially to the business.”

Pearl Initiative and NAMA call for a business-first approach  to foster gender diversity in Gulf workplaces.Sherif Shawki, Managing Partner at PwC Kuwait, said: “At PwC Middle East, we are focused on creating an inclusive culture in which we embrace diversity. During the workshop, we shared the various efforts that we have undertaken to drive Diversity and Inclusion including #IamRemarkable sessions, a Google initiative which strives to empower women and underrepresented groups to speak openly on their accomplishments in the workplace and beyond. In addition, we’ve partnered with the UN Women‘s HeForShe initiative committed to the United Nations Global Solidarity movement, engaging men as advocates of change for gender equality and driving action for better balance in the workplace across the Middle East. Diversity & Inclusion is integral to the firm’s purpose at PwC; driving transparency, raising awareness and investment in diversity and inclusion within the Middle East.”

Commenting on the success of the workshops, Yasmine Omari, Executive Director of the Pearl Initiative, stated: “The potential benefits of inclusivity in business are overwhelmingly compelling, especially when exploring the influence of gender. However, a direct analysis of the opinions and experiences of women in the workforce, as evidenced from our 2019 survey, point to the fact that there is still a long way to go for businesses to support women employees, their careers, and their ambitions. The survey also revealed that gaps exist in the implementation of policies and procedures that could facilitate women’s career successes.”

She continued: “Part of our 2020 agenda is to utilise our ‘Diversity in Business Leadership’ programme to explore new and effective ways of influencing and driving institutional change through impactful leadership development solutions. Our aim is to offer organisations across the Gulf Region direct access to the tools required for developing diversity in business practices, which ultimately boost their productivity, innovation and revenue growth. The strategic goals of our workshops were to offer constructive solutions to build inclusive and welcoming workplaces for female employees, and to strengthen businesses by cultivating competencies and benchmarks to support their workplace advancement.”

International consultant Dr. Melissa Langworthy, a feminist economist whose work focuses on building better options for women in the contemporary Gulf Region through economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, facilitated the workshops.

“Women thrive when they work in an ecosystem that values their diverse talents and maximizes their opportunities,” said Dr. Langworthy. “Gulf businesses equipped with D&I strategies tailored to the regional economy can amplify this value within their workplaces and communities.”

Founded in 2010, the Pearl Initiative is a Gulf business–led non-profit organisation promoting a corporate culture of accountability and transparency as key drivers of competitiveness and sustainable economic growth across the Gulf Region. The organisation develops programmes and publishes regional research reports and case studies to promote the implementation of higher standards of corporate governance amongst business and student communities across the Gulf Region.

About the Pearl Initiative

Prominent business leaders from across the Gulf Region formed the Pearl Initiative in 2010 to create a non-profit vehicle for the Private Sector to collectively take the lead in adopting higher standards in corporate governance, accountability and transparency to enhance business innovation, opportunity and value creation.

With over 40 regional and international partners, the Pearl Initiative brings together business, government and civil society decision-makers to share best business practices and to help maximise the economic opportunities available to companies within the region. The Pearl Initiative also supports Gulf-based university students to identify and embrace strong ethics as they embark on their future careers.

The Pearl Initiative seeks joint collaborative action between regional and global business leaders, international institutions, government bodies and wider initiatives within the Gulf Region, exhibiting positive leadership and sharing knowledge and experience in order to influence regional business and student communities.

For more information, please visit or contact us on +971 779 2672 or via email at

Follow us on @PearlInitiative on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Share This:

Gender & InclusionNewsRegion