One of the Middle East’s most successful female entrepreneurs has said women are not being promoted to the boards of major companies because they are considered too “emotional”.
Sara Al Madani, who has founded companies in the United States and her native United Arab Emirates (UAE), has said that the old-fashioned thinking of women being “too emotional” is especially prominent in the finance sector.
She said in an interview with Arabian Business: “It happens most in the finance sector. The reason why women don’t sit on boards is because men think that they are emotional, and therefore their decision making process is completely different. When you’re emotional, you tend to change your mind a lot. (sic)”
Al Madani says that despite these views many of the men she has met in business say they have felt their boards have improved from the addition of women.
She said: “Every board that has women, when I ask the men on the board, the differences [they mention] are that they fight less, are more respectful towards each other, even smile more. It’s like a splash of colour in a black and white room. They’re forced to act more civil. (sic)”
She says that attitudes in the UAE towards women being on boards are “100 percent” improving but the finance industry is still a “man’s world”.
The entrepreneur says that despite the fact that the majority of finance students graduating with top marks are women, men still believe that women are not capable of working with finances.
Al Madani started her fashion label Rouge Couture, now known as Sara Al Madani Fashion Design, at the age of 15.
She was selected as a board member at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2014, a government board to promote “sustainable commercial and industrial development” for businesses in the city of Sharjah. As a result, she is now known by Her Excellency.
She was involved in the opening of British restaurant Shabarbush, based on the way many Arabs pronounce London’s Shepherd’s Bush, in Dubai.
Al Madani runs a creative consultancy called Social Fish alongside her fashion line while also being a brand ambassador for Nivea and Natura Bisse in the Middle East.
She was named Serial Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 by the American Aesthetic Centre.
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