Women have long been pushing for a role equal to men in the boardroom. Now as International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world today, a new office tower announced recently will give female executives a place at the top of the table.
Hydra Properties is developing Eve’s Tower in Business Bay. When complete, it will only allow companies owned or run by women to lease office space.
Some people would consider this discriminatory, but Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, the chief executive officer of Hydra Properties, does not think so. He came up with the idea after seeing an increase in the number of women taking prominent roles in the business world.
“Women in the UAE have made big strides on the business and political scene of the country. We see women in the roles of ministers, high government officials, CEOs, general managers, sales and marketing managers, entrepreneurs and investors in the stock and real estate market,” he says.
With the UAE Cabinet now featuring four women, the most prominent of whom is Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the Minister for Foreign Trade, more females are being inspired to take an active role in business – a fact Hydra Properties wants to capitalise on.
“We notice that more and more women are taking prominent, and leadership, positions in the business world in the UAE, as well as other Gulf Co-operation Council countries, including Saudi Arabia.
Women in other Arab countries are also participating more in international business and we believe we can cater to their needs,” adds Al Fahim.
Eve’s Tower will be part of five building developments overlooking the Burj Dubai in the Downtown district.
Companies that will be based there include PR and marketing firms, but as yet no names have been released.
The 20-storey project is also offering cheaper rents in order to attract more interest from women-only companies.
“We have received praise from establishments and individuals, especially women. All reactions have been positive and we received applications from many businesswomen,” says Al Fahim.
But even though the companies must have women in charge, men are not banned entirely. Companies are allowed to have male employees, but women will take priority and have certain privileges, including their own lift and the opportunity to set their own rules.
This, Al Fahim believes, will give them more freedom in the workplace.
“Access to any office remains at the discretion of the business owner, but the ultimate goal of Eve’s Tower is to provide women with an environment that tends to their needs, allowing more comfort and freedom,” he says, adding that it will also act as a forum for female executives.
Eve’s Tower is the first project of its kind, not only in the Middle East but anywhere in the world. The developer plans to introduce the concept to other cities in the future.
And with 70 per cent of the 20 offices already leased, it appears there is a growing desire for women to have their own working environment.
“After the success in Dubai, we decided to repeat it in Abu Dhabi, but with some differences, including design. After Abu Dhabi, we will head to the UAE’s remaining emirates to build similar projects,” says Al Fahim.
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