16 Dec 2018 | 04:00 am | 2 min. read
International law firm, Pinsent Masons, has launched its inaugural Middle East Female Future Forum as part of its ongoing drive to advance, inspire and empower female leaders in the region. The series, which aims to challenge gender parity, is part of the firm’s wider efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace - with a focus on those working in the legal field.
More than 30 professionals, across a range of sectors, were present at the event titled "The advice I would give my younger self." The event is the second gathering this month, spearheaded by the law firm, as part of its efforts to demonstrate the immense value that a diverse and inclusive workforce brings to a business.
The Female Future Forum series, which will take place quarterly, will draw on the experiences of inspiring female leaders living and working in the UAE, focusing on their diverse backgrounds, surmounted challenges and success stories. The open discussion format provides audiences with a unique opportunity to learn, connect and support one another to find tangible solutions to a range of issues faced by women in the workplace.
The first edition of the event was hosted by Farida El Agamy of Tharawat Family Business Forum. An international speaker, governance expert and a lawyer by background, Farida is the General Manager of the Tharawat Family Business Forum, a private network and knowledge hub for family-owned companies in the Middle East and North Africa.
Farida spoke of her supportive family, diverse upbringing, and her tenacious approach to dealing with the gender stereotypes that exist globally throughout her career. She captivated the audience with anecdotes of her pursuit of success in competitive industries which have, historically, been dominated by men.
Chairing the event was Gurmeet Kaur, Partner at Pinsent Masons. Kaur said: "Our firm is one that is strongly committed to empowering women globally and to driving the transformation of an industry in which women have been underrepresented at a leadership level for far too long. The UAE is deeply committed to advancing women in the workplace and as an organisation that believes diversity and inclusion are the key to achieving success, Pinsent Masons is dedicated to driving the change towards gender equality in the workplace, not just within the legal profession, but across all sectors. We hope that our events, which are open to men and women, will help to increase dialogue around gender disparity and provoke positive change."
Luke Tapp, Partner for Pinsent Masons and Head of Middle East Employment Practice and Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee said: "Pinsent Masons is recognised as an industry leader in terms of diversity and inclusion, and a key part of our strategy is to support gender diversity across our business at all levels.
He added, "The UAE is seeing an increasing number of women entering the workplace supported by government and private sector initiatives. At Pinsent Masons we have implemented a number of policies to encourage women to reach the highest levels of leadership within the legal profession. We have established a Diversity and Inclusion Committee and are leading the way with initiatives such as enhanced maternity leave and agile working solutions."
Tapp concluded, "The UAE is a regional leader in the empowerment of women, and Pinsent Masons is committed to echoing this success by doing all that it can to advance the role of females in an industry, that globally, needs to do more to encourage female leadership."
Last month, Pinsent Masons held a Diversity Morning, to educate organisations about how to adopt an approach that promotes a more inclusive workforce whilst understanding the legal provisions that regulate such arrangements. During the panel discussion, featuring Bridget Butler, Director of Legal, DMCC; Carys Richards, Senior VP for HR Middle East and Africa, Mastercard; and Claire Walters, Associate Director at Pennell Hart, international best practices were discussed - in addition to how organisations can proactively tackle challenges around diversity and gender parity.
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