Gearing up the progress of Gender Diversity Management in the MENA States

Super international event focused on the mutual benefits of learning from each other.

by Dianah Worman

I learned a lot from taking part in the networking workshop for delegates from across the MENA Region organised by GIZ at the end of April in Cairo and was flattered to take part as an expert contributor.
The event was backed by the German government as part of the GIZ regional development programme called EconoWin. This provides an important resource. to improve the economic integration of women in Egypt, Jordan, Morrocco and Tunisia.
This programme has built partnerships with 20 companies and 4 business associations in the MENA region and 10 European/German companies in order to improve Gender Diversity Management (GDM) to win, keep and promote female talent.
In economies where women are poorly represented in the workforce in comparison with men this translates into huge economic loss. According to a study by the Mckinsey Global Institute, the equitable participation of men and women in the economy has the potential to add as much as USD 28 trillion or 26% to global GDP in 2025.

Across the MENA region the percentage of women in paid work is lower than it is in the west. Labour market data shows that youth unemployment is high here at 30% with young women disproportionately affected.
Designed to inform and stimulate discussion about why and how to progress the increased economic activity of women the workshop certainly succeeded in achieving this aim.
Meeting for the second time after the successful inaugural event hosted in Casablanca a room full of passionate game changers considered and contributed thoughts and ideas to help each participant build on the progress that had been made in their own countries. They also focused on helping to shape the development of a GDM tool by GIZ to support future progress.
The facilitated collaborative way of working took account of what had worked well and less well in the diverse environments of the countries represented.

The business case
It was clear from the conversations throughout the day that the business case was accepted as a major driver for action on the GDM agenda.
How to evidence this beyond macro level economic facts is the deeper level of evidence needed to win over organisational board level commitment. Top team engagement is essential to ensure GDM is given airtime as a core issue for attention.
It is contextually relevant information that makes top teams sit up and take notice and convince them about the need for action to introduce whatever changes are needed.
It is what helps to drive systemic change.

Attendees were at different stages of the journey in progressing GDM. All are keen to do what they could to influence and trigger further progress.
That is why sharing, networking and learning from each other was a central theme to the event. It provided an opportunity to reflect on what progress can look like and spotlight how it can be made faster.
The next event which will be hosted in Berlin. I am sure it will be as successful as the one hosted in Egypt.

Dianah Worman OBE Chartered FCIPD
Director Inclusive Talent Ltd at www.inclusivetalent.co.uk

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