n line with the efforts to advocate for gender diversity and to empower women by developing their skills so they can become board members and play a vital role in companies’ growth, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) launched for the first time in Lebanon and the MENA region, in collaboration with Tamayyaz-EIGL division and the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB), an exemplary program for women on corporate boards entitled “Women on Boards- WOB”.
Selecting participants based on their educational knowledge, their leadership in the business sector, and the extent of their contribution to local communities, the program aims at training and empowering women to occupy leadership positions in companies and their boards of directors, and become efficient contributors in the decision-making process while playing a pioneer role in thebusiness sector.
The “Women on Board – WOB” program kicked off with a series of workshops that were held on November 29 and 30, and December 4 and 5 at Le Gray Hotel, Beirut, with the participation of international trainers and experts specialized in women empowerment and leadership. Targeting twenty prominent female figures in leading positions, the workshops revolved around the differences in the brain function between men and women as well as prevailing stereotypes, the distinctive traits of women as essential board members, and the importance of abolishing the obstacles that impede the access of women to leadership positions.
The program hopes to organize more workshops in the coming year, targeting each 25 business women across the country. Following its great success in Lebanon, it is also intended to be launched in the MENA region soon, with the same aim of endorsing gender diversity.
Commenting on the initiative, Managing Director and Board Member at Tamayyaz Mrs. Rita Rizk said: “Business cannot prosper without the active involvement of women in the economy, as studies and experiments have proven that the decision-makers behind most of the world’s distinguished and leading companies are women who have mastered the art of management and outperformed men in many sectors”. Rizk also reiterated the fact that the WOB program aims firstly at empowering women and developing their skills in ways that support their evolvement path and the achievement of the desired growth.
From her side, the president of the LLWB, Mrs. Asmahan Zein, highlighted the importance of the league’s collaboration with the IFC, considering the “program a further incentive to attain the rights and privileges that women’s organizations and advocates try to push for. The program also allows leader women to stand out, share expertise, and expand their knowledge, thus inciting them to aim for leadership positions, whether in the companies they work for or outside.”
The four-day workshop resumed with a training facilitated by the Senior Country Officer at the IFC in Lebanon, Mr. Saad Sabrah, during which participants exchanged experiences and expertise with IFC’s consultants, Mrs. Brenda Bowman and Loty Salazar. Throughout the workshop, a presentation by IFC’s Corporate Governance Officer, Mr. Yehia El Husseiny, highlighted the results of a study in Jordan proving that companies with women-filled key positions scored double revenue on property rights and three times more on assets than companies run by men.
Featuring the special attendance of the Minister of Women Affairs, Mr. Jean Oghassabian, the workshop was crowned by a round table conducted by Deputy General Manager and Head of Risk Management and Strategy at the Credit Libanais, Mrs. Nada Rizkallah, during which President of the Association of Lebanese Business People in the World (RDCL World), Dr. Fouad Zmokhol, former Minister of Economy and Trade, Dr. Alain Hakim, and General Director of Commercial Insurance, Mr. Roger Zaccar, presented the milestones scored in the field of women empowerment and reiterated the efforts that are yet to be exerted in this regard.
For more information about the program, please visit the following websites:
- International Finance Corporation (IFC):www.ifc.org
- Tamayyaz-EIGL: www.tamayyaz.com
- Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB): www.llwb.org