Honoring the contribution of women toward business and to spark inspiration in young women, KPMG in Kuwait organized its women-led event ProudCast on 20 March 2023 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Kuwait. The hybrid event continued to drive the theme for International Women’s Day 2023, i.e., ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’ and discussed the areas and disparities that might be affecting women’s growth.
In her speech, Karen Watts, Partner — Quality and Risk, KPMG in Kuwait, said, “While International Women’s Day has been with us for over a 100 years and much progress has been made, there remains more to do to achieve gender equality as a basic human right for all women. Globally, KPMG has set an intention to have women in 33 percent of leadership roles by 2025, which includes partners and directors. This represents a third of our leadership across the globe and will help drive our commitment to advancing gender equality, across all KPMG member firms. As of 30 September 2022, women represented 33% of the people of KPMG Kuwait. This is an encouraging start but requires our continued focus and efforts to ensure that women are equally represented at all levels and that we achieve and exceed this global target.”
The three-hour event comprised of elaborate panel discussions on chapters from the GCC Female Leaders Outlook 2022, namely: (a) Purpose and ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance); (b) Innovation and Technology; and (c) Career and Motivation. The presiding panels included Zulaiha Hassan, Manager, KPMG in Kuwait, Najla Al-Sager, Head of Talent Management — Group Human Resources, National Bank of Kuwait, Sanaa Al Ghemlas, CEO, Omniya, May Dashti, Information Security AGM, Gulf Bank, Shaymaa Koura, Manager, KPMG in Kuwait, Manal AlRubaian, General Internal Auditor, Kuwait International Bank, Lamees Peshimam, Asst. Manager, KPMG in Kuwait, Lisa Sweis, Managing Director — TRACCS, Kuwait & Qatar, Naz Demir, First Secretary Commercial/Country Director — British Embassy, and Haneen Almousa, Clinical Hypotherapist, Life and Business Coach. The three sessions were ably moderated by Jamila Al Dakny, Heba Nabil, and Sara Asfahani, respectively, from KPMG in Kuwait.
The key points that emerged from the discussions highlighted the increase in the number of women in the finance and tech sectors, owing to their diverse outlook. However, attracting more female talent will require drastic shifts in recruitment methods and fostering a strong people-based culture. The event shed light on factors that may inhibit women’s performance at work and stressed on addressing unconscious biases, having a strong support system and transparent communication, and being vocal and confident in the face of adversity as potential measures to tackle them. Women are capable, relentless and solution-oriented, and these traits can be reinforced further by able female mentorship, compassion and further investment in female talent.
ProudCast comes in close succession of the launch of GCC Female Leaders Outlook 2022, a report by KPMG in Kuwait, which provided a collection of insights based on the findings gathered from 60+ female leaders in the GCC region. The women-centric thought leadership publication called attention to the gender gap in the digital age, which motivation alone cannot bridge. It pointed out that the change in needs has to be matched with the change in mindset that supports the roles women play now and will take up in newer realities. The report also illustrated that majority of the female leaders are confident of their growth prospects and are on top of their career progress paths. However, facilitating sustained realization of their potential necessitates rearranging employee value propositions and addressing gender concerns.
“Equity is not equality — they are inherently different concepts. Equity is not about giving everyone the exact same thing. It is about recognizing that we are not all the same, that we start out from different places, that we face different challenges and that we need different things to be successful. Equal opportunities are not enough, and equal is not always fair. It is only through the process of equity, that we can reach equality,” concluded Karen.
ProudCast saw participation from across the GCC region, with a combined audience of more than 150 people watching it in person and online.