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U.A.E. Women Lead the way in Traditionally Male-Dominated Industries

April 7, 2017 1:00 pm

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In the U.A.E., a new generation of highly-skilled manufacturing
experts has emerged – and it’s women that are leading the way.
Many have now entered historically male-dominated industries,
such as: aero-structure manufacturing, engineering and oil and
gas. And that’s because the empowerment of women is high on its
agenda. The U.A.E. government is aiming for 50 per cent of
workforce roles to be held by women.

At Strata Manufacturing – an advanced aero-structure
manufacturing facility in Abu Dhabi – 86 per cent of the local
workforce is women, employed in roles such as working on the
production line, to leading teams of engineers. Women at Strata
also hold half of the operational leadership positions. Women
like Team Leader, Meera Al Shamsi. She says:

“Women should take pride in pursuing the manufacturing industry
and have a career, with its growing possibilities to hone one’s
talents and give back to the country. One of Strata’s main
highlights has always been the growth of Emirati females. We are
currently over half of the leaders and almost half of the
supervisors – that allows us to take part in country’s vision of
diversification and empowerment of women.”

It’s a sentiment that’s echoed by those in charge. Ismail Ali
Abdulla, Deputy CEO, Strata Manufacturing PJSC says:

“Women are encouraged to take part and excel in an industry
that’s typically male dominated…..We are colour blind and
gender neutral when it comes to opportunities and career
development paths.”

Over at fellow Abu Dhabi (and Dubai) company – Emirates Global
Aluminium (EGA) – it’s a similar story. The Process Control
Senior Manager at EGA, Shaikha Al Shehhi, wants to encourage
women, wherever they are in the world, to enter manufacturing.

“I advise women to be in manufacturing because it’s a very
interesting sector. It’s very dynamic, you can develop yourself
and be a new person if you start working in this sector. In this
country, they are growing a lot of our women to be a part of
lots of organisations, and many industries. Our government is
looking for 50% of roles to be covered by women, because they
trust our strength and they think ladies will be driving this
country in the future,” says Al Shehhi.

In this way, the UAE seems to be ahead of the curve in
overcoming traditional stereotypes and encouraging women to
enter previously unexpected industries. The rest of the world
could learn a lot from Emiratis and take advantage of their
largely untapped pool of highly-skilled women as a means of
propelling manufacturing into the future. More than that, women
could be answer to the manufacturing skills gap that’s emerging
in certain countries across the world, such as the United
States.

This debate will be one of the hot topics at GMIS this year –
the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, held in
Abu Dhabi at the end of March. Preparations are reaching their
final phases. Also on the agenda will be other controversial and
thought-provoking manufacturing topics, such as: Industry 4.0,
robotics, the circular economy and the industrial internet of
things.

Content provided by Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation
Summit, via Reuters.

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