The events were held at the Conrad Hotel in Dubai and the W Hotel in Doha, Qatar, with over 150 women and men in attendance with the express aim to highlight the benefits the construction industry stands to gain from the growing number of talented and ambitious women who are building their careers in the sector.
"We believe that by allowing for different attitudes and approaches within the workplace we are better equipped to provide our clients with the best of service."
Campbell Gray, Faithful+Gould Managing Director - Middle East
The event was opened by Campbell Gray, Managing Director of Faithful+Gould - Middle East, who iterated his strong support for the work of the WBN in improving diversity at all levels in the workplace. "We believe that by allowing for different attitudes and approaches within the workplace we are better equipped to provide our clients with the best of service," said Campbell. "Gender balance and diversity bring with them tolerance and cooperation, and in order to be able to have that competitive advantage we must absolutely rely on the many talents of our staff, specifically the high emotional intelligence quotient women bring to the work environment which is an indispensable asset to becoming a client-centric organisation and to ensuring success."
Lesley Desport, WBN Chair said: "One of the impediments to gender balance and workplace diversity is the difference in communication approaches primarily between the genders. Similarly this difference exists between cultures and ethnicities. Strong and effective communication skills are an essential attribute within any business environment, including the ability to engage in challenging conversations and to influence others for positive change. This WBN event provided a forum for improving our understanding of different communication approaches in order to build confidence and to support productive conversations."
"One of the impediments to gender balance and workplace diversity is the difference in communication approaches primarily between the genders."
Lesley Desport, Women's Business Network Chair
Faithful+Gould and Atkins are striving to create a good balance based on merit. The impact of this can be seen through their three-year Middle East Graduate Development Programme, the intake of which currently stands at 45% female.
The WBN was launched in August 2014 in order to retain and attract women into the business, to ensure it has a more positive gender balance in senior roles moving forward. It continues to garner strong support from internal and external stakeholders all looking to promote gender diversity balance in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Some of the programmes launched through the WBN include: a buddy programme for welcoming new women into the business; a mentoring program designed to provide guidance and encouragement; women's networking events created as a regional community for women to share their experiences, gain additional support across the business units, and most importantly harness the companies' resources towards creating a more fair and diverse workforce.