For a woman, entering the realm of business world is not easy. For the most part, the difficulties concern not the ways in which women prefer to run business, but the way in which women are perceived in the contemporary society, and nowhere is the given issue as obvious as in the UAE.
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Despite the fact that the problem of female employees and business people facing gender profiling has been addressed several times and a number of measures have been taken, the issue of gender discrimination in business persists, which means that more drastic methods must be designed.
In his article Small enterprises: Women entrepreneurs in the UAE, Haan addresses the issues that businesswomen in the UAE face most often. According to what the author says, “support for UAE women entrepreneurs has long been confined to limited assistance for women engaged in traditional, home-based activities” . Therefore, it can be assumed that, by creating several organizations that regulate the relationships among entrepreneurs within the UAE market, businesswomen will be accepted into the UAE business system.
However, not only Haan, but also a number of other specialists agree that, with the introduction of such organizations as Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CATWAR), Gender Entrepreneurship Markets (GEM), Dubai Business Women’s Council (DBWC), and many others, few changes actually happened .
It should be kept in mind, though, that Haan’s study was conducted quite a while ago. In a retrospective, a number of things have changed over these ten years, yet the issue concerning women in business remains just as deplorable as it used to be, mostly because the basic initiatives still revolve around introducing agencies that will help regulate the issue within the market.
However, certain changes are definitely worth being mentioned. While the issue regarding women in the UAE business still leaves much to be desired, considerable concessions have been made over the past decade.
To start with, the formation of the Khalifa Fund can be considered the stepping stone of female empowerment in business in the UAE. In fact, the given organization can be considered by far the most supportive and efficient of all; being one-of-a-kind project, it provides “venture capital, training, development, data and consulting services, and even marketing support” , which is very impressive. However, financial assistance does not have a tangible impact on the Emirati society and its concept of women in business: “However, unlike other countries, there is a lack of support targeting female entrepreneurs in UAE” .
Another important landmark in the history of women in the UAE business sphere, Masdar Institute has reached considerable results in female empowerment, with “4 ministers in the current government and 17.5% of the Federal National Council”  being women. However, while the organization is striving for the balance of men and women in politics, it seems to omit such an important issue as women in business. At present, it is clear that urgent outside help is needed to set the model for the UAE enterprises to follow.
Therefore, comparing the aforementioned establishments with the contemporary initiatives in female entrepreneurship in the UAE, one must admit that the changes that occurred from 2000 to 2013 can hardly be viewed as the Emirati women’s best foot forward.
On the one hand, enhancing the basic ideas of business equality is important, yet, as it has been stressed above, more examples from the foreign companies should be introduced. While theoretically, women are free to run business in Emirates, in practice, they face the same blocks that they did several decades ago .
Therefore, it is clear that the problems faced by female entrepreneurs in the UAE are not going to disappear in one day. The battle for independence is only starting, and there are a number of prejudices to face.
Arguable, the given issue could be solved by dealing with foreign investors, as it has been suggested above, yet for a startup company to attract foreign investors, it is required to have its feet firm on the ground within the UAE market, which, for a company headed by a female leader, is quite problematic. With that being said, it is obvious that the regulations that eliminate the possibility of gender profiling must be provided for the UAE business realm.
Khalifa Fund was created in 2007 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The fund was originally intended to help SMEs and encourage the development of small businesses across the country. Offering to invest in new and promising industrial and service sectors within the Abu Dhabi area, the fun allowed for small business growth. Funded by the government, the organization reflects the attempts of the latter to change the UAE business landscape. In 2012, the organization announced its determination to invest in microbusinesses .
However, since recently, the organization has been paying special attention to women in business. In 2013, nearly 30% of $14 m was provided to allow for more options for UAE women in SME. At present, the Khalifa Fund is tackling the issue quite efficiently. However, there is still a long way for the Khalifa Fund to go in order to provide UAE women with the same options as men have in business.
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H. C. Haan (2004). Small enterprises: Women entrepreneurs in the UAE. Web.
The Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (2007). Women business owners in the United Arab Emirates. Web.
C. Hossan, M. Parakandi and H. Saber, “Entrepreneurial knowledge, preferences and barriers of female business students in the Middle East,” Journal of Business and Policy Research, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 83–99, 2013.
Government of Dubai. Dubai women establishment. Dubai, UAE. Web.
T. Varghese, “Women empowerment in Oman: A study based on women empowerment index,” Far East Journal of Psychology and Business, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 37–53, 2011. Web.
Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development. News. Web.