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Dubai Eye Business Breakfast: Women hold just 3% of UAE board director roles

Aurora50 in the media - Dubai Eye 103.8's Business Breakfast

Speaking to Dubai Eye’s The Business Breakfast after the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority announced a quota of one woman per listed board in March 2021, Aurora50 co-founder Diana Wilde said the quota was “not tokenistic”.

She told The Business Breakfast’s Richard Dean that while market regulator ESCA previously issued a guideline on putting women on boards, it was on a ‘comply or explain’ basis only, as opposed to the new, enforced quota.

“You will have to have one woman on your board,” she said.

The quota was “not tokenistic”, Ms Wilde added. “There’s been a lot of work over last couple of years to ensure that there are women in the pipeline.

“When we looked at the issue –  and we’ve been working very closely with ESCA and with partners like ADNOC and Mubadala – what we’re seeing is that there are women in the pipeline but that the ecosystem is in imbalance, so it is harder for the boards to find those women than it is to nominate men.

“What happens when you put men and women in the room together is the collective intelligence goes up.”

Diana Wilde, Aurora50 co-founder

“This [quota] is really going to help us in terms of changing the amount of effort that goes into that process.”

Asked about the different leadership styles of men and women, Ms Wilde said that the key to boards was diversity of thought, a characteristic that can be seen “in both men and women”. The problem, she said, was that “at this point in time, we don’t have those female voices in the boardroom”.

“We’re looking at how that group of individuals work as a team,” she added. “What happens when you put men and women in the room together is the collective intelligence goes up.

“This isn’t really an argument in terms of one sex being better than the other. It’s the fact that we’re going to make better decisions when you have diversity of thought in that room.

“That’s why it’s so important that we’re not just looking at half of the talent pipeline, we have to have access to both – both the men and the women.”

Listen to the full interview on Omny.fm.

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