Dubai, Oct 12: Investing in women’s employment and improved working conditions can bring dramatic benefits to both women and businesses, according to a new report released today by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.
The report was produced by WINvest, a World Bank Group partnership with the private sector for promoting women’s employment that includes Zulekha Hospitals, UAE and other companies from diverse regions and sectors.
Released at the 2013 World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington, DC, the report, Investing in Women´s Employment: Good for Business, Good for Development outlines how investing in women’s employment has led to enhanced productivity, improved staff retention, and increased access to talent.
Zulekha Hospitals helped inform this report by participating in knowledge exchanges and sharing lessons learned from its efforts to promote women’s employment.
It presents specific examples of how initiatives tailored to women - such as training, childcare support, health services and alternative work arrangements - can enhance business performance, while improving working conditions for women and men. For instance, as a leading private healthcare provider in UAE, Zulekha Hospitals serves as a model for the provision of quality health services and has played an instrumental role in setting standards for the local healthcare sector. It has created a model for women’s health services and family care, driving change in the health sector and the wider medical community in UAE.
In addition, Zulekha Hospitals is a pioneer in promoting women in its workforce. Women constitute 75 percent of the company’s workforce. In the company’s operations, women represent the majority among doctors and senior clinical / management staff - a much higher rate compared to other sectors. The group was founded and is led by Dr. Zulekha Daud who is among the first female doctors who arrived to the country in 1960’s during its formative years.
Given its prominent influence within UAE’s healthcare sector, the success of the company’s female-led model can have an important demonstration effect. In particular, Zulekha Hospital demonstrates to other companies that investing in women employees can improve recruitment, staff retention, and productivity.
“Women’s participation is critical in the healthcare sector. We at Zulekha Healthcare Group strongly advocate that women are better at leadership, empathizing with our patients, and experiencing compassion for them. For us investing in women’s employment is a win-win strategy for all, strengthening both healthcare and communities, and changing the face of the global economy.” affirms Zanubia Shams, CEO of Zulekha Healthcare Group.
The report fills a critical knowledge gap by offering case studies from emerging markets showing that investing in women’s employment can yield benefits not only for companies operating in male-dominated industries such as mining and construction but also in female-dominated sectors like garments manufacturing and agribusiness. Going forward, WINvest will focus on creating new products and tools to help companies realize the benefits of being more inclusive of women employees.
“Women’s participation is critical for meeting the growing need for skilled labor in emerging markets,” said Atul Mehta, IFC Global Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services. “This guide can help companies realize the business gains of recruiting from a broader pool of talent, how to retain women, and how to help them maximize their contributions.”
“With IFC’s help we realized our vision to be one of the most competent, courteous and comprehensive healthcare providers by developing the talent and potential of our female employees” said Taher Shams, president of Zulekha Healthcare Group.
Women workers constitute 40 percent of the world’s workforce. Yet more than half are engaged in the informal economy, without the benefits and security of salaried or wage work. Empowering women to participate in full and productive employment is essential to expanding economic growth and strengthening companies and communities.
About Zulekha Healthcare Group
Zulekha Healthcare Group is one of the region's foremost brands for comprehensive healthcare. The group has healthcare facilities in Dubai and Sharjah, with their hospitals and medical centre chain in Dubai and Sharjah accredited by the Joint Commission International, College of American Pathologists for Lab services and Dubai Quality Award for Quality and Customer experience.
WINvest (‘Investing in Women’) is the World Bank Group’s global partnership initiative with the private sector on women's employment. With a Secretariat housed in IFC, this initiative brings together IFC clients and private sector partners with a vested interest in substantiating the business case for improving working conditions and employment opportunities for women, investigating where and when investments in improved working conditions for women can result in higher firm productivity. WINvest was launched at the 2012 IMF/World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Tokyo.