Sharjah – MENA Herald: Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC) has joined the Pearl Initiative, the leading independent private sector-led, not-for-profit organisation working across the Gulf Region to influence and improve corporate accountability and transparency. As a Pearl Initiative partner, SBWC will work to further encourage gender diversity in GCC workplaces, driving positive change through the implementation of best corporate governance practices.

At a signing ceremony to mark the partnership attended by Her Excellency Ameera BinKaram, Chairperson of SBWC; Imelda Dunlop, Executive Director of the Pearl Initiative; Her Excellency Noura Al Noman, Chairperson of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi Executive Office; Sheikha Amal Al Maktoum, SBWC Board Member, and Raghda Taryam, Board Member of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, SBWC said it will support the second phase of the Pearl Initiative’s Diversity in Leadership programme.

The Diversity in Leadership programme led by the Pearl Initiative emphasises the business case for greater gender diversity at senior levels, as well as delivering insight on the practical ways that companies can incorporate more women in senior management and Board positions. Phase one of the programme included the Pearl Initiative’s ‘Women’s Careers in the GCC: The CEO Agenda’ report, which was launched in early 2015. The report determined the degree to which women are engaged in regional workforces and leadership positions, and examined their attitude towards career advancement to provide advice to companies looking to diversify their senior roles.

In the second phase, and in partnership with the SBWC, the Diversity in Leadership programme will include a case study report examining how best practices are implemented in five regional companies. The case studies will showcase how these companies retain and promote high potential women through to senior ranks, to boost gender diversity in leadership teams and on boards.

HE Ameera BinKaram said: “Involving women at the leadership level is of vital importance to support economic development in Sharjah, the UAE, and the GCC as a whole. On behalf of Sharjah Business Women Council, I am proud that we are now partnered with the Pearl Initiative to promote the best business practices that generate the inclusion of women in leadership roles. We at SBWC always laud the achievements of women who are hardworking, talented and single minded in their perseverance. We are sure that the women in GCC are ready and able to join the international dialogue on governance and show our membership that there are great opportunities open to successful business women who join us”

Imelda Dunlop said: “There has been significant progress across the region in terms of including more women in the workforce, but there are still steps that must be taken to ensure that more leadership positions are open to, and indeed filled, by female talent. At the Pearl Initiative, we believe that the best way to promote and encourage companies to look at ways of increasing the number of women at executive and board levels is by sharing regional best practices. We look forward to working with the Sharjah Business Women Council, in the hopes of encouraging other companies to pursue stronger corporate governance policies.”  

Since its establishment in 2010, the Pearl Initiative has developed a network of more than 40 partners in countries across the region. Through various engagement channels, the Initiative promotes the benefits of corporate accountability and transparency, to inspire companies in the Gulf region to adopt best practices that will lead to a more sustainable economic and social environment.