Getting the balance right

Perspectives

Getting the balance right

A blueprint for gender balance in the Middle East private sector

Today, gender balance is a growing item on the agenda of many Middle Eastern governments, civil society leaders and the wider public. Becoming a gender-friendly organization will enhance brand equity and result in direct and indirect financial gains.

The Middle East is on a journey of economic transformation towards knowledge-based economies. An organization having a reputation for diversity, inclusiveness and a gender friendly workplace will have access to a wider qualified talent pool. The significance of this outcome will only rise as the trend of graduation rates for females outstrips males in KSA and the UAE among other vital Middle Eastern markets.

The potential to develop innovative and cutting-edge gender balance initiatives is near infinite. Monitor Deloitte has developed foundational initiatives that any organization can customize, build on and then adopt. 

The initial set of initiatives focuses on transforming the underlying cultural biases and perceptions around gender balance. It includes among others:

  • Introduce a dynamic and meritocratic women quota for board members and senior executives to ensure that the right woman is placed in the right place to maximize her impact on the organization and avoid ghost placements to satisfy quota restrictions.
  • Introduce a gender-sensitive talent acquisition process by infusing certain gender criteria into the evaluation and hiring process.
  • Create a “Women Leadership Program” to encourage, develop and promote successful women in middle management to leadership roles within the organization.
  • Introduce a gender-blind compensation policy that ensures “equal pay for equal work” and abolishes the gender pay gap.
  • Introduce customized maternity leave policies to ensure the continued retention of top talent among working mothers.
  • Introduce paternity leave policies to ensure that husbands can support their wives during maternity, thus providing a smoother transition into the workforce.
  • Introduce flexible working hours & work from home arrangements leveraging digital innovation to enable an efficient back and forth transition between the office and home.
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