Women in driving seat in banking sector in spotlight

MANAMA: The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) in cooperation with the Supreme Council for Women (SCW) hosted a roundtable discussion on the “challenges face by women in reaching lead positions in the financial sector.”

Held at the Bahrain Bourse Auditorium, the session brought together leading female figures from the industry to share their experiences and insights into the obstacles that remain for women in climbing the corporate ladder.

The roundtable was the first in a series campaign of activities to celebrate and promote the role of “Women in the Financial and Banking Sector” which leads to the main conference on November 30th 2015 under the theme ‘Women in Finance and Banking’ to be held under the patronage of HRH Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of His Majesty the King and President of the (SCW).

Speakers at the event were HH Shaikha Hessa bint Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman of Al Salam Bank, Najla Al Shirawi, CEO of SICO, Sabah Al Moayyed, Managing Partner of Intellect Resources Management, and Dr. Huda H. Al Maskati, Executive Director – Corporate Services at the CBB. The session was chaired by BTV host Ahdeya Ahmed.

Rasheed Al Maraj, Governor of the CBB, encouraged CEOs across the financial services sector to review and take into account the recommendations shared at the discussion in order to provide further support for women in the sector and help ensure their success.

“The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain has given women the right to work. We are living in an open society and stable economy that provides woman with the opportunity to achieve their ambitions on the work front while maintaining balance in their family life. While this is challenging, I believe we can find solutions through dedicated mentoring programs for women as well as education and work experience to help them achieve success on both fronts,” HH Shaikha Hessa bint Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman of Al Salam Bank, said.

“There is an opportunity for women to reach executive positions in cooperation with CEOs and through their own hard work, persistence and leadership. Financial institutions should also provide a flexible working environment for women taking into account the demands on women’s time both in the work place and from family life. The same should also be applied for men,” Sabah Al Moayyed, Managing Partner of Intellect Resources Management, said.

“We are pleased to have initiated our series of panel discussions focusing on the issues impacting women in the financial and banking sector. While women have played an important role in making the Kingdom of Bahrain a leading financial center over the past 50 years, their ascension to top positions still remains an anomaly. This session explored the challenges that continue to face women in reaching executive roles. It also showcased the experience of industry-leading women who shared their stories and provided valuable insight into how the next generation can overcome obstacles in order to better advance to the executive roles,” Dr. Huda H. Al Maskati, Executive Director Corporate Services at the CBB, said.

In the months leading up to the main conference on ” Women in Finance and Banking’ ” on the 30th of November 2015, ahead of the annual Bahraini Women’s Day in December, the CBB and SCW have planned a number of events to promote the advancement of women in the sector. This includes additional panel discussions on the women’s role in the industry.
Also in coordination with the banking industry and other financial institutions, training and mentoring programmes have also been planned and will soon be announced.

All activities aim to highlight successful women role models in the sector while also seeking to guide career enhancement and development among the new generation of women in finance and banking. The year-long focus on women in the industry also encourages financial and banking institutions in the Kingdom to reinforce their commitment and efforts to apply the principle of equal opportunity in the advancement of women to positions of authority in the industry.

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