How Businesswomen in the UAE Start and Succeed in a Male-Dominated Market?

by Zaara 07, Apr 2022

There's never been a better time in the UAE to become a female entrepreneur. Currently, women now make up almost half of the SME sector in the UAE. A strong cultural prejudice against men is still in place in many ways and many industries.

But that isn’t stopping female entrepreneurs. They are starting successful businesses and driving change every day by embracing:

  • Networking
  • Continuous learning
  • Support for other women
  • Confidence building

Here’s how you can start and succeed in a male-dominated market.

Develop Your Networks

Networking in Dubai is one of the women's most comfortable and most productive ways to establish and make useful new connections in their industry. Dubai's networking opportunities are comprehensive.

How to Approach ‘High-Quality Networking’ in Dubai?

You must explore which events are right for you to choose from so many networking events.

Two common female networking communities are the Ellevate Network and the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), but it is possible to address various mixed networking activities at meetings. Invite your friends what things they would consider for networking, too.

Before you attend any networking event:

  • Be clear on your objectives - Where do you want to get to, and how can you get there helped by others? Being honest on why you do what you do will allow you to network in the right way with the right people.
  • Make clear interest in helping others - It's not supposed to be all about you and what you want out of that relationship. Ask yourself, how do I help other people? Networking is about sharing knowledge and ideas to turn it, where possible, into a financial reward.
  • Follow Up after a scenario - To benefit from it, you must cultivate the relationship in all forms of lead generation. Follow up on any actions you have committed with people that have made a real difference and check in with them.

With about 85 percent of the entire UAE population consisting of expatriates, everybody's from somewhere else, and they are all looking for ways to interact and grow.

Never Stop Learning New Skills

Successful people never standstill when it comes to learning new skills and developing existing ones. By becoming an aggressive life-long learner, you will not only be able to do your job better, but you will demand tremendous respect from others operating in your market – whether they are male or female. Take inspiration from some of the top women business leaders in the world.

How to Become a Life-Long learner?

  • Set your alarm 30 mins earlier and read - Rather than rushing out of the door, allow yourself some ‘you time’ first thing in the morning. Sit down, sip coffee and use this time as an opportunity to seek out new information.
  • Take advantage of every relevant seminar and continuing education class you can.
  • Take an online or weekend/evening course in something you’re passionate about that is entirely unrelated to your job to exercise your brain in different ways.
  • Be committed to learning - Yes, it takes time, discipline and focus, but the rewards are happiness, mental agility, confidence and expertise – all of which will make you invaluable to your team.
  • Teach others - A great way to consolidate what you’ve learned is to help and train others.
  • Support other women - This one seems obvious, but unfortunately, many of us are unaware of our own gender bias. Some female entrepreneurs can be unnecessarily aggressive or hard towards other female leaders and women in the workplace.

Women are still vastly underrepresented in business, so it’s so vital that we support each other.

How to Support Women in Business?

Being nice is not a weakness. Women who treat others fairly and ethically tend to be happier and more productive, in addition to creating more comfortable and more productive teams.

To support women in business, you can:

  • Champion the achievement of other women - Think of a fellow businesswomen's performance as a victory for all females. We want to all become allies of each other.
  • Ask other females regarding their road to success - By looking at others, we will, and should, improve our abilities.
  • Recognise female co-workers in meetings publicly and highlight their accomplishments.
  • Get active in women’s associations, which provide fantastic opportunities for mentorship and business networking.

Cultivate Confidence

Business confidence is so important, especially for women in male-dominated markets.

Here are some approaches to become more confident as a female entrepreneur:

  • Surround yourself with smart, optimistic individuals - It is an invaluable trust builder to spend time with spirited women and men. Having a strong support network will inspire you to try new things and be less afraid of failure.
  • Knowledge is power - Upskilling increases your value and will motivate you to take action and make decisions. Skills such as public speaking, negotiation and dispute resolution are also exemplary instruments of trust-building.
  • Move outside of your zone of comfort - Go and do something different entirely. It could be a presentation or a skydive at a conference. Whatever it is, once you have done it, you will feel so much more confident and motivated.

It’s time to make your mark.

Businesswomen in the UAE inspire women worldwide to take an entrepreneurial leap and help shape the global business future.

Undoubtedly, the future of women entrepreneurs is bright, women entrepreneurs are more competitive than ever, and a rising ecosystem is promoting women entrepreneurs and women-owned companies.

We at Commitbiz are a platform to help start a business in the UAE. Our services include business incorporation, accounting and bookkeeping, corporate secretarial services and much more. Contact us today to know more.