Saturday, July 20, 2024

Beyond Boundaries: Women Shaping Qatar’s Business Future

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Beyond Boundaries: Women Shaping Qatar’s Business Future

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Dr. Buthaina, your initiatives like Qatariat T&D Holding Company and Tamkeen Training and Consulting Solutions focus on empowering Qatari women in the workforce. What drove you to champion Women Development‘s , and how do you see these efforts shaping the future of Qatar’s business landscape?

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Dr. Buthaina: The driving force behind my dedication to championing women’s development in Qatar’s workforce stems from a deep-rooted belief in the transformative power of gender equality and diversity in driving economic growth and social progress. As a firm believer in the untapped potential of Qatari women, I am committed to creating opportunities for them to thrive professionally and contribute meaningfully to Qatar’s business landscape.

Qatari women possess immense talent, ambition, and capabilities, yet they often face barriers such as societal norms, cultural expectations, and limited access to resources and opportunities. By focusing on training and consulting solutions tailored specifically to empower Qatari women, we aim to address these barriers and unlock their full potential. Empowering Qatari women in the workforce not only benefits individual women but also has far-reaching implications for Qatar’s business landscape and economy as a whole. When women are given equal opportunities to participate in the workforce and are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge, they can drive innovation, enhance productivity, and contribute to the diversification of industries.

When women are given equal opportunities to participate in the workforce and are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge, they can drive innovation, enhance productivity, and contribute to the diversification of industries.

Dr. Buthaina

Moreover, fostering gender diversity in leadership positions brings different perspectives, ideas, and approaches to decision-making processes, leading to more inclusive and effective business practices. By investing in women’s development, we are not only advancing gender equality but also strengthening Qatar’s competitive edge in the global market. Looking ahead, I envision these efforts shaping a future business landscape in Qatar that is characterized by inclusivity, innovation, and sustainable growth. As more Qatari women are empowered to pursue their professional aspirations and become leaders in their respective fields, we will witness a dynamic and vibrant economy that thrives on diversity and equality.

In essence, championing women’s development is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic investment in Qatar’s future prosperity. Through our training and consulting solutions, we are committed to playing a pivotal role in realizing this vision and building a more equitable and prosperous future for all.

As the Senior Director of Human Resources at Ooredoo, you’ve likely encountered various challenges in fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace. Could you share some strategies or initiatives you’ve implemented to promote gender equality and diversity within your organization?

Dr. Buthaina: Our commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion at Ooredoo begins with a concerted effort from senior leadership. Working closely with executives, we emphasize the significance of these initiatives, ensuring that clear goals are set and progress is consistently monitored and evaluated. Through comprehensive diversity training programs, we aim to cultivate awareness and understanding among all employees. These initiatives tackle topics such as unconscious bias, cultural competence, and inclusive leadership, fostering an environment where diverse perspectives are valued and embraced.

In our recruitment and hiring practices, we prioritize fairness and impartiality. Implementing blind recruitment strategies, including anonymizing resumes and employing diverse interview panels, helps mitigate biases in the hiring process. Additionally, we actively seek candidates from diverse backgrounds and maintain targets for diversity in our workforce. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) serve as vital platforms for fostering inclusion and amplifying diverse voices within our organization. These groups, focusing on dimensions like gender, ethnicity, and LGBTQ+ inclusion, provide avenues for connection, sharing experiences, and advocating for change.

Recognizing the importance of work-life balance, we have established flexible work policies tailored to accommodate diverse needs and lifestyles. Whether through remote work options, flexible hours, or job-sharing arrangements, we prioritize supporting the well-being of working parents and caregivers. Our mentorship and sponsorship programs are instrumental in nurturing the career advancement of underrepresented groups. Pairing employees with senior leaders facilitates guidance, support, and advocacy, ensuring equal opportunities for professional growth.

Recognizing the importance of work-life balance, we have established flexible work policies tailored to accommodate diverse needs and lifestyles.

Dr. Buthaina

Regular equal pay audits underscore our commitment to fairness and transparency. By conducting systematic assessments and addressing any disparities, we uphold our pledge to ensure all employees are justly compensated for their contributions. Transparent promotion processes, based on merit and performance, guarantee equitable access to advancement opportunities for all employees. We actively minimize subjective criteria, fostering an environment where talent and dedication are recognized and rewarded.

Furthermore, we continually review and update workplace policies and benefits to uphold inclusivity and support all employees. This encompasses areas such as parental leave, healthcare coverage, and accommodations for disabilities, ensuring a supportive environment for all. Regular assessments of our diversity and inclusion practices, including employee surveys and climate assessments, provide valuable insights. By identifying areas for improvement and tracking progress over time, we remain dedicated to cultivating an inclusive workplace where every employee feels valued, respected, and empowered to succeed.

Your entrepreneurial journey includes founding Strike for Marketing and Communications (MARCOM) and Tamkeen Training and Consulting Solutions. What key lessons have you learned as a businesswoman, and how have these experiences influenced your approach to leadership and entrepreneurship?

Dr. Buthaina: In the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, success isn’t just about having a great idea—it’s about mastering the essential qualities that drive achievement. One such quality is resilience, the ability to bounce back from setbacks stronger than before. Challenges are inevitable in business, but it’s the resilient entrepreneur who can weather the storms and emerge victorious. Another critical trait is adaptability. In an ever-evolving business landscape, those who can pivot quickly in response to market shifts, technological advancements, and changing consumer preferences are the ones who stay ahead of the curve.

Moreover, successful entrepreneurs understand the balance between risk and reward. They take calculated risks, guided by strategic planning and decision-making. A clear vision and strategy are paramount, serving as a roadmap for the business and rallying employees around a common purpose. Furthermore, empowering others is key to fostering a thriving business. By investing in their team’s growth, building a culture of trust and collaboration, entrepreneurs cultivate an environment where success is a collective endeavor.

Additionally, customer-centricity is non-negotiable. Understanding and meeting customer needs drives value and loyalty, underpinning long-term success. Lastly, social responsibility is integral. Businesses that prioritize ethical practices and community impact foster goodwill and sustainability. These lessons in leadership and entrepreneurship form the bedrock of success, guiding entrepreneurs to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and make a lasting impact.

Understanding and meeting customer needs drives value and loyalty, underpinning long-term success

Dr. Buthaina

Being recognized as one of the most powerful Arab women by Arabian Business Magazine and receiving the Most Inspirational Arab Woman of the Year Award reflects your significant impact in the region. How do you leverage your influence and platform to advocate for women’s rights and professional development?

Dr. Buthaina: A few contributions I have been able to make are as follows:

Visibility and Representation: As a visible figure in the region’s business community, I use my platform to amplify the voices of women and advocate for their inclusion and advancement in all sectors. By serving as a role model and sharing my own experiences and achievements, I aim to inspire other women to pursue their goals and aspirations.

Education and Empowerment: I am passionate about empowering women through education, mentorship, and skill-building initiatives. I leverage my influence to support programs and organizations that provide women with access to quality education, training, and resources to enhance their professional development and leadership capabilities.

Advocacy and Policy Influence: I actively engage in advocacy efforts to promote policies and initiatives that advance women’s rights and gender equality in the workplace and society. This includes advocating for legislative reforms, corporate policies, and cultural shifts that support equal opportunities and fair treatment for women.

Networking and Collaboration: I leverage my network and connections within the business community to facilitate networking opportunities, mentorship programs, and partnerships that benefit women. By fostering collaboration and collective action, we can create a more supportive and inclusive ecosystem for women’s professional advancement.

Raising Awareness: I use my platform to raise awareness about the importance of gender diversity and inclusion in driving economic growth, innovation, and sustainable development. Through speaking engagements, media interviews, and thought leadership initiatives, I seek to challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and promote a more inclusive narrative around women’s roles and contributions in society.

Overall, I am committed to using my influence and platform to advocate for women’s rights and professional development, with the belief that empowering women benefits not only individuals but also entire communities and economies. By working together towards gender equality, we can create a more just, equitable, and prosperous future for all.

Qatar has made strides in promoting women’s participation in the workforce, yet challenges persist. What do you believe are the most pressing issues hindering women’s advancement in the business sector, and what measures do you propose to address them?

Dr. Buthaina: Cultural and Social Norms: Deep-rooted cultural and social norms can pose significant barriers to women’s advancement in the business sector. Traditional gender roles and expectations may limit women’s access to education, employment opportunities, and leadership positions.

Work-Life Balance: Balancing professional responsibilities with family and caregiving duties remains a challenge for many women in Qatar. Limited access to affordable childcare facilities and flexible work arrangements can make it difficult for women to fully participate in the workforce.

Lack of Female Role Models and Mentors: The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions means that aspiring female professionals may lack role models and mentors to guide and support them in their career advancement.

Gender Bias and Discrimination: Despite legal protections against gender discrimination, women in Qatar may still face bias and discrimination in the workplace. This can manifest in hiring and promotion decisions, unequal pay, and limited opportunities for career advancement.

To address these challenges and promote women’s advancement in the business sector, I propose the following measures:

Education and Awareness: Implement educational programs and awareness campaigns to challenge gender stereotypes, promote gender equality, and raise awareness about the importance of women’s participation in the workforce.

Flexible Work Policies: Encourage employers to implement flexible work policies, including remote work options, flexible hours, and job-sharing arrangements, to accommodate the diverse needs and responsibilities of working women.

Supportive Infrastructure: Invest in the development of affordable childcare facilities, eldercare services, and other support systems to help women balance their professional and personal responsibilities effectively.

Leadership Development Programs: Establish leadership development programs, mentorship initiatives, and networking opportunities specifically tailored to women to support their career advancement and foster the growth of female leaders in the business sector.

Promotion of Gender Diversity: Encourage companies to set targets for gender diversity in leadership positions and implement strategies to achieve them. This may include unconscious bias training, diversity recruiting initiatives, and transparent promotion processes based on merit.

Legal Protections and Enforcement: Strengthen enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws and regulations. Hold employers accountable for discriminatory practices and provide avenues for women to seek redress in cases of gender-based discrimination.

By implementing these measures, Qatar can further advance gender equality in the business sector and unlock the full potential of its female workforce, contributing to the country’s economic growth and development.

Your involvement in various organizations, such as the Qatar Business Women’s Association and MENA Business Women’s Network, highlights your commitment to fostering collaboration and support among women professionals. How do these networks contribute to women’s empowerment, and what role do you envision them playing in the future?

Dr. Buthaina: Engagement in organizations such as the Qatar Businesswomen’s Association and the MENA Businesswomen’s Network is pivotal in advancing women’s empowerment and fostering collaboration among women professionals. These networks serve as platforms for women to connect, share experiences, and access resources that support their professional development and advancement. By facilitating networking opportunities, mentorship programs, and knowledge-sharing initiatives, these organizations enable women to build valuable relationships, gain insights into diverse industries, and acquire skills necessary for success in the business sector.

Moreover, these networks provide a collective voice for advocating for policy reforms, addressing systemic barriers, and promoting gender equality in the workplace and society. As women’s networks continue to grow and evolve, I envision them playing an increasingly influential role in shaping the future of work by empowering women, driving innovation, and fostering inclusive and equitable business environments. Through collaboration and solidarity, women professionals can leverage their collective strengths to overcome challenges, break down barriers, and create opportunities for meaningful impact and advancement in the years to come.

As a mentor at the Qatar Professional Women’s Network Circle, you play a pivotal role in guiding and supporting aspiring women professionals. What advice do you typically offer to women navigating their careers in male-dominated industries, and what strategies do you encourage them to employ for personal and professional growth?

Dr. Buthaina: As a mentor at the Qatar Professional Women’s Network Circle, I recognize the unique challenges that women face when navigating their careers in male-dominated industries, and I offer tailored advice to help them overcome these obstacles and thrive professionally. Firstly, I encourage women to cultivate confidence in their abilities and to assert themselves in male-dominated environments, advocating for their ideas and contributions. Additionally, I emphasize the importance of building a strong support network of mentors, sponsors, and allies who can provide guidance, support, and advocacy.

Developing strong communication and negotiation skills is also essential, as is continuously seeking opportunities for learning and skill development. Furthermore, I encourage women to define their own version of success and to set ambitious yet achievable goals for themselves. By leveraging their unique strengths, networking effectively, and staying resilient in the face of challenges, women can navigate male-dominated industries with confidence and achieve both personal and professional growth.

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