Jersey Finance hosted the inaugural webinar in the new Perspectives: Women in Leadership Series: A View from the Top, hosting over 150 attendees. Exploring the perspectives from four inspirational female business leaders in the Middle East and Asia, the webinar shed light on the experiences, inspirations and challenges that have shaped their journeys to leadership.
The session was led by An Kelles, Jersey Finance’s Director, GCC, and featured keynote speaker Chadia El Meouchi Naoum, Managing Partner at Badri and Salim El Meouchi (Lebanon); Aisha Abdallah, Head of Disputes at Anjarwalla Khanna (Kenya); Jane Ren, Partner at Xin Bai (China); and Hetal Sanghvi, Partner at Edwin Coe LLP (India).
With women holding just five per cent of CEO positions in leading companies in the region, and 29 per cent of women in senior management¹– the highest number on record, the panel discussed the need for more visibility of women in power. To date, the region is significantly behind as it holds the lowest female labor force participation rate (LFPR) in the world at 24.6 percent – which is drastically lower than the world average of 47.8 percent².
The discussion delved into women’s growing role as agents of change in the region, the importance of leveraging leadership positions and platforms to drive social change and how collaboration and networking are pivotal for growth and success. Despite the apparent gap in the region, some countries have made strides in increasing women’s visibility in the workplace. For example, the UAE has been advancing its gender diversity efforts and has made significant progress over the past two decades. The number of women in the workplace rose from 29.2% in 1990 to 40.6% in 2018 and women now make up 66% of public-sector workers, with 30% in leadership roles³. Similarly, Saudi Arabia has set an ambitious target of 30% female participation in the labour force as part of its Vision 2030.
Commenting on the sidelines of the event, An Kelles, Director GCC, at Jersey Finance, said:
“We are very pleased about the launch of our Perspectives: Women in Leadership Series and are especially proud of forging a platform that spotlights the success of inspirational women who were able to share their unique journeys to leadership. This insightful discussion sets the foundation for a forward-thinking series that aims to celebrate the diversity of women in leadership roles and to establish a space where knowledge, expertise and insight can be exchanged.”
The Perspectives: Women in Leadership Series follows Jersey Finance’s highly successful “Women in Wealth Management” event series which took place across the GCC region in 2018 and 2019.