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AB Majlis Podcast: Navigating leadership as a woman in a male dominated industry

In an AB Majlis Podcast Rima Mrad, candidly shares her experiences and challenges as a woman in a male-dominated industry. 

“There is a presumption that women are not necessarily looking for leadership,” Rima told Arabian Business on the latest episode of AB Majlis.

When asked about her perspective on leadership, she eloquently stated, “I think leadership consists of being a good example to follow. And at the same time, providing support to the people around you so that they can explore opportunities to improve in their careers.”

The conversation swiftly transitioned to Rima’s personal journey in the legal industry, which she candidly acknowledged as predominantly male-dominated. She shared the challenges she encountered, both personal and professional.

“I cannot deny that as a woman, I faced various challenges across various stages of my career. At the beginning of my career, I had to make full a commitment to work, which can be very compromising at certain points for women with families. The expectations of the work that I was doing required that I should be available 24/7,” Rima said.

This led her to fight for the recognition and training necessary to take on leadership roles within her industry. Rima addressed the need for awareness, training, and cultural change to empower women to pursue leadership roles without hesitation.

“It’s just about raising awareness about how we should empower women to make this balance, not to make this choice at every single stage of their career. A lot of women do not fight for advancement because they are really concerned about whether they can cope. And this is a real challenge for a lot of women, that’s why you can always see them shying away from leadership, although they prove throughout their careers that they are worth it.” she explained.

Navigating male-dominated fields: Rima Mrad’s insights
In her quest to excel in a male-dominated space, Rima shared valuable strategies. She emphasised the importance of setting and focusing on goals, all while maintaining self-confidence and resilience.

Her advice to women who might be facing similar instances in related industries is, “Whenever you are in a situation where you are questioned because you are a woman and you’re surrounded by men, you just need to make sure that you are able to act with objectivity, you neutralise the situation, don’t make any statements that are sentimental, because this will be used against you. To do that, you need to always retain a professional approach.”

Rima’s story extends beyond the legal industry; it reflects the broader challenges women encounter in various male-dominated sectors, she explained, “It’s not only within the legal industry, I can say within so many industries that are male-dominated, women take a long time to excel. The only way to do that if they get support from within or if they’re connected, or if they have a stake or shareholding in the company.”

“We cannot do anything to discard such situations from existing but we can definitely continue to raise awareness about the importance of creating objective environments and empowering environments, to allow women to excel within certain situations or in general,” she added.

For aspiring female professionals, Rima advised the need for dedication, especially at the beginning of one’s career. She believes in the importance of working within organizations that support growth and, if needed, working to change systems that hinder progress. Above all, she encourages women to be vocal about their experiences and challenges, work towards change, and, if necessary, embrace change rather than surrendering.

“Invest in building as much experience as you can make sure that you work within an organization that supports your growth. If you believe that the system does not allow you to progress, try to change it, I always encourage women to be vocal about the experiences that they go through. And if you can change something, or work towards changing it, or at least making an impact in terms of changing it. But if you reach a stage where it’s not working, don’t surrender, don’t be afraid of change, face your fears,” Rima strongly affirmed.

The full article and podcast can be viewed here: AB Majlis podcast: Navigating leadership as a woman in a male dominated industry with Rima Mrad.

BSA is a regional Law Firm in the Middle East with offices in the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia. As a full-service law firm our practice areas include litigation, arbitration and corporate services, including M&A, banking & finance, Intellectual Property, TMT, Fintech, employment and insurance.

Published on 8 November, 2023.

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