A new Middle East & North Africa (MENA) ‘Women in Finance’ award has been launched at an event in Dubai which looked at how businesses can encourage greater diversity and benefit in the process.
The award initiative was announced by event host ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) at their recent event with the theme “Lead the change – increasing gender diversity to boost performance.” Launched in partnership with business information company Naseba, the award will be presented by ACCA at Naseba’s 10th CFO MENA Strategies Forum in October 2016 and will recognize the contributions made by women finance professionals to successful businesses.
Commenting on the award, Sophie Le Ray, CEO for Naseba said “Despite the massive strides that have been in the realm of diversity, women still only represent 22 percent of corporate leadership globally, and studies show that they are far less likely to leverage their networks than men. We aim to change this, and to promote diversity – not only for moral reasons, but because it makes sound economic sense. Highlighting the achievement of female finance professionals is yet another step in this direction, and we are pleased to be launching the Women in Finance award with ACCA.”
The announcement followed a panel discussion hosted to deliver exclusive insights from diversity experts and successful business leaders in organisations that are changing the game by making gender diversity a strategic business imperative.
The panel discussion featured views from Eva Mourino, HR Director – Middle East & Africa for AstraZeneca; Hoda Abou Jamra, Founding Partner at TVM Capital Healthcare Partners; Mutasem Dajani, Regional Managing Partner at Deloitte UAE; Rachel Ellyard, Talent Leader – Middle East & North Africa at EY; Rana Askoul, Founder of Changing Pink; Samer Hijazi, Partner & Head of Islamic Finance for Grant Thornton UAE; Shabbir Barket Ali, CFO – Middle East & Africa for The Royal Bank of Scotland; Tanguy de Belair, Diversity Manager at Vinci Group; and Tasneem Lakdawalla, Partner – Advisory Services at KPMG Lower Gulf. The discussion was chaired by Paul Godfrey, one of the region’s best known editors and commentators on business, current affairs and finance.
The panel agreed that there is growing awareness about the business impact of gender diversity but whilst the value of gender diversity increasingly gains a place on the corporate agenda of many companies operating in the country, there is still a long way to go.