Advocating Gender Diversity in the Boardroom as a Key to Better Corporate Governance
Advocating Gender Diversity in the Boardroom as a Key to Better Corporate Governance
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Dubai Women Establishment, Hawkamah and Mudara IOD Sign MoU to Announce Women Directors Initiative Dubai Women Establishment, Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance and its sister institute Mudara Institute of Directors (Mudara IOD) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), announcing a path-breaking initiative to engage more women business and political leaders to serve in regional board rooms. Under the patronage of HH Sheikha Manal Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment and wife of HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the Women Directors Initiative will see the three entities collaborate to identify policy barriers restricting the participation of more women at senior executive levels and advocate changes to overcome these, develop a communication strategy aimed at increasing awareness on gender diversity in local and regional boardrooms, train women investors, directors, managers and other stakeholders on the foundations of good corporate governance and mentor the next generation of women leaders. The objectives of the initiative will be carried out in three phases. The first phase, namely “Research and Defining the Business Case” for more women’s participation in the boardroom which will include qualitative interviews on current board practices, identification of current and future policy and practical challenges and the publication of results through white papers in conjunction with various women’s business groups. The second phase will focus on “Capacity-building and Empowerment” and will include workshops for women leaders, the delivery of the globally accredited four-part Director Development Program by Mudra IOD, and the Board Referral Service which will provide a pool of at least 20 women leaders who can serve regional board appointments. The third and final phase will involve “Research Advocacy and Networking”, achieved through a series of Business Breakfasts, mentoring and awards programs, empirically grounded analysis leading to policy recommendations and business cases on the importance of having women on boards in the region, and the promotion of media coverage to highlight the challenges and overriding issues faced. Commenting on the MoU, Mona Al Marri, Chairperson, DWE’s board said: “This initiative actively supports DWE’s efforts to equip working women with the skills and opportunities to progress to senior executive roles within the regional business landscape. Working together with Hawkamah and Mudra IOD will enable the knowledge and resource sharing required to positively shift perceptions related to women’s presence in positions of leadership, as well as offer training and networking opportunities necessary to nurture a qualified cadre of women leaders capable of confidently taking their place in the region’s boardrooms, thus contributing to a more favourable gender balance.” Dr. Nasser Saidi, Executive Director, Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance, said: “Hawkamah’s own research has shown that of the six thousand plus board seats amongst GCC listed companies, only 1.5% of those seats are occupied by women. Yet, our region has a growing number of women business, political leaders and entrepreneurs that can potentially take on some of these board seats and provide the critical and independent perspectives in board room discussions.” Dr Saidi added: “Understanding good corporate governance practices and how to effectively operate at a board room level is an important component of the Women Directors Initiative. We very much appreciate Dubai Women Establishment’s engagement and support of this initiative, and we hope to build on this linkage and to create a regional corporate culture instilled with good corporate governance practices supporting the region’s economic development.” 84_1 From left to right: Dr Nasser Saidi, Executive Director of Hawkamah Mona Al Marri, Chairperson, DWE’s board 84_2


  • The certified Board Secretaries Workshop provided by Hawkamah and Dubai Financial Market is an essential course for learning corporate governance, scope and responsibilities of the board secretary and understanding the governance and disclosure requirements of the Dubai Financial Market and the Securities and Commodities Authority. It is a practical course which combined recent best practices and key learning lessons. I would highly recommend it for people involved in corporate governance and in particular in a listed company.

    Omran Al Zamani - Senior Legal Counsel - Dana Gas PJSC

  • Great program! Very well done and very useful information delivered in an excellent manner. The workshop was very inspirational, energizing, bringing lots of ideas, with both substantial and in-depth knowledge together with case studies. Well-balanced composition of participants, which contributed to interesting and focused discussions and exchanges. I would highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in improving their proficiency and core competencies.

    Hassan Murad Agha - Group Head of Compliance & Internal Control - Gulf General Investment Co. (PSC)

  • All companies should promote their boards, executive managers or staffs who have board responsibilities for subsidiary companies to attend corporate governance training. Hawkamah provides the ability for people and companies in the GCC to upskill in the area of corporate governance and directorship through a comprehensive programme teaching international best practice which has been tailored to regional specific governance issues.

    Alastair Mulligan - VP Asset Management - National Central Cooling Company PJSC (TABREED)

  • I am truly honored to attain this certification and I recommend the Compliance Heads of all DFM listed companies to participate and achieve this certification.

    Nabeel Mirza - Senior Director & MLRO - Compliance - GFH Financial Group B.S.C.

  • The workshop has added a level of professionalism to my practice. It addressed and discussed  the right concepts to promote better governance and effective support for business in line with rules and procedures.

    Osama Issaq Al Haj - Head of Legal & Board Secretary - Dubai Islamic Bank

  • A very interesting and informative course which has helped me to adapt my Board Secretary knowledge further to my role as Company Secretary.

    Hamad Al Hosani - Group Company Secretary - Emirates NDB Bank

  • Anyone who wants to enter the world of boards and governance; this is your passport.

    Jehad A. Kazim - Director - Legal Services Dubai Chamber

  • The Directors Development Program was one of the most beneficial programs I attend during my career life. The strength of the program comes from the way it was structured as each part covered very important aspects of the required management role.

    Nada Ishaq Abdul Karim - Manager - The Secretary of The Board of Directors - Bahrain Islamic Bank BSC

  • The DDP offered by the Hawkamah Institute is an excellent course to prepare directors to understand and fulfil their obligations properly as members of the board. I have benefitted immensely from this program and have started to implement some of the best practices taught on the boards that I am involved in.

    Amir Arab - Director - Havenvest Private Equity Middle East Limited

  • The Director Development Program is great way to gain insight and improved understanding in areas such as corporate governance and board functionality. I would highly recommend the program as a foundational step before they begin their board experience.

    Bindu Ann Joseph - Chief Operating Officer - 3W Networks

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