“During the global pandemic, women, in all walks of life, showed their mettle – not just women leaders!” stresses Khadija Al-Kindi, communication officer, UNICEF Oman. “Through my work with UNICEF, and via a research that the UNICEF conducted, it was clear that women, to a large extent, bore the brunt of the pandemic, shouldering additional childcare responsibilities as they worked from home,” she adds.
Women across the world in companies often get into a ‘gender double bind’ – when they become aggressive in their work, they are ‘insensitive’, when they exercise empathy, they are ‘indecisive’. Does it bother you?
Everywhere it is clear that women face direct and indirect barriers in the field of work that prevents them from having the same opportunities and outcomes as their male counterparts. In Oman, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik has underscored that women’s participation is key as part of the national strategy to achieve Vision 2040 goals, and they are expected to actively participate in all fields.
The global pandemic was a sphere in which women leaders showed their mettle. What is this essence of a woman that helps them dismantle the usual narrative and help them veer their companies from disaster to success and beyond?
Women in all walks of life showed their mettle – not just women leaders! Through my work with UNICEF and via a research that UNICEF conducted, it showed that women to a large extent bore the brunt of the pandemic, shouldering additional childcare responsibilities as they worked from home. In my case, both my husband and I were working from home – I had just started a new job at the UNICEF – while looking after our three young daughters. It was chaos!
A key area of the UNICEF’s response in Oman was supporting the government to safely re-open early child development centres and nursery schools. This not only allowed children access to the early child education services, but also alleviated some of the childcare responsibilities of parents.
Many qualities of women come to the fore in a crisis – how do they (or you) transpose this into the work ecosystem?
Parents – mostly mothers, actually –adapted while staying at home. To give some examples, they were creative in coming up with new ideas to keep their children entertained; they helped them learn new skills; they planned and organised their days so there was structure, creativity, lifelong learning, planning and organisation – these are all skills that are also crucial in the world of work.
While you may argue that women are at present ruling the world, when will the time come when they will, without a doubt, rule the world?
Oman demonstrates a strong presence with women in leading positions. The First Lady of Oman, Al Sayyida Ahad bint Abdullah bin Hamed Al Busaidi, is a pride to all Omani women and a true inspirational leader.
I am happy to note that the female representation at UNICEF is also strong. Our executive director, Henrietta Fore; our regional communications chief, Juliette Touma and the UNICEF Representative in Oman, Lana Al Wreikat, are all women.
What are the fundamental characteristics that help a woman shine in the corporate world?
In my current role, I am extremely lucky to have matching ideals with UNICEF as an agency that looks after children’s welfare and development, and that harmony is crucial and it is the required synergy that helps us shine at any job.
Khadija Al Kindi is a working mother, with unlimited aspirations – worked for 16 consecutive years in the business world and currently paying her dues to the world by working in the humanitarian field.