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

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  • The breakfast meetings organised by Hawkamah provide attendees with a great opportunity to meet with peers from leading organisations and exchange ideas on current issues and challenges. A strong panel of industry experts discussing the challenges from different perspectives on ‘How to get the board more engaged’ was most insightful and engaging with enthusiastic audience participation especially in matters regarding diversity and quality of information that is  presented to the board for effective decision making. I look forward to more such events that are organised by Hawkamah

    Sunil Edwards- Group Head of Internal Audit  - Bank of Sharjah

  • The power breakfast on board engagement organized by Hawkamah in collaboration with Diligent was a successful event, very insightful and informative and well organized

    Mostafa Ibrahim Abdeltawab - Tax Agent & Consultant  - Skylines Tax Consultancy

  • There is absolutely no doubt that Hawkamah – as always – has done unmatchable effort in producing its most recent valuable report in association with Diligent about Board Best Practices in the MENA. The discussions that took place in the “Power Breakfast” was so important and insightful; the influx of questions by the quality participants and the valuable answers of the quality panelists is a clear proof of Hawkamah continued success in such events. 

    Yasser Al Dabach – Board Secretary – Ghobash Trading & Investment Group

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  • 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

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