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updated 6:54 AM SAST, Mar 14, 2031
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The Big 5 launches “Women in Construction”

A traditionally male dominated industry, construction presents major challenges for equal opportunities for women. As the UAE gears up to become one of the world’s top 25 countries for gender parity by 2021, empowering women in construction becomes a priority.

In 2018, the largest construction event in the Middle East, The Big 5, will launch the first “Women in Construction Seminar & Awards” in association with Mott MacDonald, organisers dmg events announced. In line with the event’s broader mission to develop the construction industry, The Big 5’s Women in Construction aims at supporting its work force by empowering women in a sector that accounts for 10% of the UAE’s GDP.

Josine Heijmans, Portfolio Director of The Big 5, says: “The UAE Government is setting an example, with federal institutions leading the way in implementing the UAE’s vision to boost gender parity. Today, nine female ministries are part of the country’s cabinet, and a UAE Gender Balance Council is at work to support women’s empowerment and promote equality. “I trust The Big 5’s Women in Construction will go a long way in supporting and achieving this mission.”

Taking place on November 28 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the Women in Construction Seminar & Awards will offer strong, powerful and successful women an international stage where to share their experience and advance the entire industry. “Our goal is to recognize great women in the construction sector and offer them an opportunity to meet, exchange ideas and overcome common challenges,” explains Heijmans.

According to Dr. Shetha Al-Zubaidi, CEO Alfahim Avenue Group of Companies: “Many women have worked hard to take gender out of the equation to simply be recognized for their skills and talents. Integrating leadership into one’s core identity is particularly challenging for women, who must establish credibility in a culture that is deeply conflicted about whether, when, and how they should exercise authority.”

Marcus Taylor, Managing Partner Taylor Sterling, says: “Over the past five years or so, some of the most talented individuals I have had the pleasure of working within the construction industry have been female. I also believe that more gender diverse teams are more innovative, collaborative and ultimately more successful.”

Dr. Al-Zubaidi concludes: “The most significant reasons why you haven’t got enough women in the senior side of the industry is the barriers they face re-entering the workplace after having children. But if the industry is to deliver the billions of essential infrastructure projects the country has lined up, it is essential to keep this workforce in place and attract them back into the industry after a career break.”

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