Top jobs for women in Mideast set to double but challenges remain

Survey projects the proportion of women in professional and technical jobs in the Middle East to double over the next decade. (AN file photo)
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Updated 08 March 2020

Top jobs for women in Mideast set to double but challenges remain

  • Career boost will come about through digitization, online platforms and entrepreneurship, says senior McKinsey partner

DUBAI: The proportion of women in professional and technical jobs in the Middle East is set to double over the next decade, but women in the region still face a higher number of challenges than elsewhere in the world if they are to bridge the gender gap.

This is the main finding of a year-long survey of women’s participation in the economies of selected regional countries — including Saudi Arabia — by international consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

“The data shows that jobs are likely to more than double by 2030,” said Rima Assi, senior McKinsey partner and joint author of the report. “Women are not yet sufficiently integrated into high-productivity sectors in the Middle East, nor are they adequately equipped with the advanced technological skills required to take advantage of these opportunities.”

The boost to jobs for women will come about through digitization, online platforms, and entrepreneurship, she added. 

“Advancing the role of women in society and the economy is a key driver for change in the Middle East. Increased female participation in professional and technical jobs can turbo-charge economic growth in a region that will be significantly impacted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution — making their participation all the more critical,” Assi said.

BACKGROUND

  • Research shows that women in the Middle East, however, prefer tertiary fields of study such as arts and education and are not sufficiently integrated in STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

The research included surveys of women in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

It found that “levels of literacy and enrollment of women in primary and tertiary education is on par with men and female tend to outperform boys in school. However, women prefer tertiary fields of study such as arts and education and are not sufficiently integrated in STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.”

It also revealed that digital inclusion is a “critical catalyst” for boosting female participation in professional and technical jobs within the region, as technology begins to reshape the workplace, offering more job opportunities and greater flexibility for women who work. Increased digital inclusion would further support women’s active participation in the jobs of the future.

But the report found that high inequalities persist, most notably in legal protection and financial inclusion, with a significant number of women that remain unbanked. 

“Introducing new legal frameworks is one important enabler for ending the gender-based inequalities prevalent in the Middle East region,” Assi said.


Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

Updated 40 min 33 sec ago

Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

  • Competition and Consumer Commission launched Australian court action against Google in July

CANBERRA, Australia: Australia’s competition watchdog will consider its own antitrust case against Google, the commission chairman said Wednesday after the US Justice Department sued the company for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising.
Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims described the US case filed Tuesday as one of the world’s biggest antitrust cases in the past 20 years.
“I’m delighted the D.o.J.’s taking it on and we’ll follow it really closely,” Sims told the National Press Club, referring to the US Department of Justice.
“We’re going to look at it and see whether there’s any value in what we might do,” Sims added.
Separately, Sims is drafting legislation to address the imbalance in bargaining power between Google and the Australian media businesses that want the tech giant to pay for journalism.
The bills, that will be ready to be introduced to Parliament by December, would empower an arbitrator to make binding decisions on how much Google and Facebook must pay media companies for news content.
Sims said his commission “had a lot of talk” with the US Justice Department before he released a report in July last year that recommended more government regulation on the market power of Google and Facebook that would ensure fair deals for other media businesses and more control for individuals on how their data was used.
Sim’s commission launched Australian court action against Google in July alleging the California-based company misled account holders about its use of their personal data.
The commission alleges the Google misled millions of Australians to obtain their consent and expand the scope of personal information that Google collects about users’ Internet activity to target advertising. Google denies the allegations.
In October last year, the commission sued Google in an Australian court alleging the company broke consumer law by misleading Android users about how their location data was collected and used. That case will be heard by the Federal Court next month. Google also denies that allegation.
Sims said Google was lobbying “every politician at Parliament House” ahead of draft legislation being introduced to make it pay for news.
Google has said the proposed laws would result in “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube,” put free services at risk and could lead to users’ data “being handed over to big news businesses.”
Facebook has warned it might block Australian news content rather than pay for it.