Closing the Gender Gap:

Opening women's access to the workplace

gender parity
Company name:
(not disclosed)
Banking & Capital Markets
More than 50,000
Middle East & North Africa
United Arab Emirates
Contact Position:
Group Head of Learning, Talent, Resourcing and Organisational Development
Contact company representative

The Gap:

Type of Gap: communities / countries of operation

Due to familial and cultural pressure, it is still rare in some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC; includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE) countries for females to be allowed to work. And even where they can work, they can still face significant restrictions, e.g. being separated from males in the office.

The total number of female employees is therefore lower than preferred in some countries - as low as 15% in some locations.

The Practice:

Type of practice: Work environment, work-life balance

We made a significant effort to educate and influence at many levels - government entities, universities etc. - and pitched an employment proposition that highlighted our international standards, learning and career options and the long term nature of that proposition. We ensured that our proposition did meet female expectations, e.g. regarding maternity leave, flexible working hours, etc.


We are tracking the number of females we were able to attract and retain and the total number of females employed. Engagement survey results are sliced to look specifically at female responses to check and then respond to issues raised re that employment proposition.

Implementation Date:

Ongoing, no particular end date.

The Success:

The number of female employees has risen.

Success factors:

  1. Senior Management Support
  2. Willingness to take a position based on our values even when culturally sensitive.


  1. Achieving the right balance in terms of progressing an initiative we strongly believe is appropriate and ensuring we did not upset long term relationships and cultural sensitivities


Awareness|Corporate Social Responsibility|Education|Policy
Similar practices Country

Enabling girls' careers

Company: Infosys Ltd

Type of Gap: entry level

Type of practice: Measurement & target setting

Equal opportunities programs at all levels of education guide girls towards a professional career.


Celebrating role models to raise women's ambitions for moving up

Company: Barclays PLC

Type of Gap: senior management level

Type of practice: Leadership & company commitment

To increase the number of women in senior management, we have developed an yearly awards campaign designed to raise awareness and women's confidence.

United Kingdom

Targets for talent management

Company: (not disclosed)

Type of Gap: senior management level

Type of practice: Measurement & target setting

With clear targets embedded in senior management scorecards, the initiatives designed to achieve a more balanced gender mix gained traction.

United Arab Emirates

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