Transformation of women’s role is key to driving Saudi economy

Ahmad AR BinDawood, CEO of Danube Co. Ltd, BinDawood Group.
Updated 25 March 2018
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Transformation of women’s role is key to driving Saudi economy

The month of March has seen two major celebrations honoring women and their role in society across the Kingdom — International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day. With the current reform drive in the Kingdom that aims to see women play a more active role in society this year, these celebrations seem more profound than ever before.
International Women’s Day was marked in Saudi Arabia in a way we have never seen before. For example, we saw women joining together in a celebratory jog across Jeddah, and the BinDawood group honored the occasion by releasing data that supports the trend that Saudi female millennials are driving the growth of e-commerce in the Kingdom (they are the largest customer group of Danube’s e-commerce platform and app).
As a young leader of the group that has pioneered the development of the retail industry in Saudi Arabia and as a business leader, it’s been wonderful to see how fast the transformation of the role of women is occurring across the Kingdom. This transformation underpins Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 goals and the role women will play in driving Saudi Arabia’s economy.
As a business, BinDawood has a long legacy of championing and supporting women. For example, this week for Mother’s Day, we launched multiple video campaigns that praise and commend Saudi working mothers and honor them as the person with most responsibility in the family. Across all our Danube stores, our female customers were presented with roses and cards as a gesture of acknowledgment of the female contribution to Saudi society.
These sentiments in our marketing efforts are also backed up by our business practices where we actively seek to hire Saudi women across our teams and business units. Currently, women make up approximately 20 percent of the Saudi workforce. As a group, we employ over 10,000 people across our business entities and part of our vision is to become the retail sector’s preferred employer. That vision includes hiring more women.
There remain many barriers including organizational, attitudinal and societal, to the advancement of Saudi women in paid employment. However, as the leading retail group in Saudi Arabia, we understand that an inclusive workforce is a crucial factor to our success.


Bahri promotes gender balance in workplace

Updated 21 May 2019
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Bahri promotes gender balance in workplace

Saudi logistics and transportation company Bahri recently participated in the 13th Annual Maritime HR Conference in London. The company’s chief support officer Hisham Alkhaldi was invited as a guest speaker at the largest worldwide gathering of maritime HR professionals. 

Held at Leonardo Royal Hotel in London from May 9 to 10, the annual event discussed key issues facing HR teams in the maritime industry. The conference brought together regulators, industry-renowned speakers, business leaders, and nearly 200 delegates representing shipowners, ship managers, oil companies, and other maritime employers such as classification societies and P&I clubs. 

Speaking on the “Diversity and Inclusion in the Maritime Industry” panel at the conference, Alkhaldi put a spotlight on the under-representation of women in the workplace across industries, particularly in the maritime sector. Highlighting that only 2 percent of seafarers worldwide are women and less than 1 percent occupy leadership roles in the industry, he said that it has become imperative for various stakeholders in the maritime industry to step up both concerted and individual efforts to address these challenges effectively and swiftly. 

“As a result of constant and deliberate efforts to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of gender balance in the workplace, policymakers and businesses in the maritime industry increasingly identify equal opportunities as a top priority today. Promoting women’s participation at work is critical not only for accelerating economic growth and sustainable development but also for driving stronger bottom-line results for businesses,” Alkhaldi said.

“Similarly, a diverse workforce will lead to higher productivity and customer loyalty, and catalyze innovation, leveraging the perspectives and experiences of employees of different nationalities, and ethnicities. As an employee-centric organization, Bahri has incorporated diversity and inclusion in its human resources policies and processes.” 

Alkhaldi also shed light on Bahri’s initiatives aimed at embracing diversity and inclusion across all aspects of its business. The company has been striving to boost the participation of women in its operations, which reached 18 percent this year. Bahri has also teamed up with universities to develop programs that will help introduce students to the maritime sector and its services. 

At the heart of Bahri’s diverse and inclusive workforce is its “Talent Management Framework,” which provides a clear direction for strategically attracting, sourcing, managing, developing and retaining talents in the company. The framework was recently named the “Best Recruitment & Talent Management Strategy” at the inaugural CIPD Middle East People Conference & Awards. The company had also won in the “Best Talent Development Strategy” category at the Future Workplace Awards 2018.