To commemorate the International Women’s Day, we are featuring women who have made notable contributions in their respective industries. We aim to explore the tenacity of each and discover how they pushed boundaries to rise to the top.
What does the 2022 International Women’s Day slogan, #BreaktheBias mean for you in your work life?
Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. The International Women’s Day theme for 2022 is #BreaktheBias, which highlights the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions in the interest of creating a more inclusive and gender-equal world.
YKA has always provided equal job opportunities to potential candidates irrespective of their gender. Our recruitment is always open for men and women, irrespective of the type of role. We have gone to an extend where we have offered female employees with the opportunity to join roles that are technical in nature such Automotive Service Advisors and Sales Executives in our showrooms, making them a prime example to other companies in the region.
Several key women who have shown keen interest in developing themselves have achieved very technical and operational roles that were earlier handled by men only, a great example is our Branch in Charge for one of our Service Centre, she started as a sales administrator and today she is the Assistant Service Manager and Branch in Charge for QuickLane Salmabad. Our Assistant Finance Manager in our Group Finance and Accounts Department she started as an Accounts Trainee and our Electronics and Home Appliances Sales Manager for Business-to-Business segment. These women have not only been handling the jobs we assign them to, but they are also often supported and motivated by our management and interactions with key customers that they serve. We are very proud of them.
We have recently created a committee that is made of mostly women and have taken their inputs on programs that we can offer for our employees. With their emotional intelligence and attention to details, we are able to offer our staff and community, more personalized and to the heart kind of events. The events are planned and executed by our women employee engagement team.
What is the main challenge that you’ve faced as a woman in your industry?
Being a woman, it was not easy in the beginning, especially we are talking about women in the 70s… people don’texpect you to rise above basic jobs like operator and accountant. My family recognized my ability and rewarded me by giving me a position.
But it was not easy, it was very hard when the children were small. I remember missing some important business meetings during that time, but my father and my family were quite understanding, and they recognized that being a woman, I have extra duties. Once my children were old enough to take care of themselves, it became much easier, and I put in extra efforts to strengthen the business. When people see you as a hardworking and dedicated person, you get recognition.
The biggest challenge in business is trying to compete with men. I had to work hard to gain the confidence of the customers and employees at the automobile division. In business there are many obstacles and losses, it is not a smoothride all the way.
What has been the most empowering moment in your career?
When I was chosen by HRH King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa to be a Member of the Bahrain Shura Council in December 2018.
Which powerful woman do you admire the most and why?
Margaret Thatcher since she was strong and a determined woman. She demonstrated that women could have high careers while she balanced her passion for politics with her love of being a mother and a wife. She successfully managed a high-ranking career in a time of extreme gender inequality for women and was a strong female leader in a century ruled bymen.
Do you have any advice for women wanting to start their own business or work their way up the ladder?
My advise to women is to work hard and never give up even if their boss ignore them. If they are good, they will be successful. If they have their own business, they should look at the business profitability by reducing expenses by using clever and effective marketing. They need to know their customers thoroughly in order to satisfy them.
What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?
We have achieved so much but still, there is a long way to go. I hope that our young girls will have nolimits and go chase their dreams and future without fear or limits. Empowerment is important to help our girls achieve their full potential which is critical to creating meaningful and sustainable change in societies. I think my only hope is that we inspire those that will come after us and keep breaking the glass ceiling.