First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC selected Hana Al-Rostamani as its first female Group CEO in a historic move last week. Taking over from Andre Sayegh, she will become the leader for one of the United Arab Emirates' largest financial institutions.
Currently, Al-Rostamani is FAB's deputy group CEO and head of personal banking, as well as chairperson of Private Bank Suisse. Her new move marks a step forward not just for women CEOs in the Middle East, but also for all working women who wish to succeed in male-dominated industries.
Women in the UAE have long been fighting for equal rights and recognition. They have long sought to overturn certain discriminatory aspects in law, such as requiring permission from a male guardian to remarry. It was only in the 1990s when women were allowed to expand their roles beyond the home and family.
While the UAE has made significant progress since then, a study by JPMorgan Chase & Co. reports that the countries in the Gulf region still have a long way to go when it comes to increasing women's participation and employment levels in the economy.
Al-Rostamani's appointment indicates the slow but gradual progress to C-suite diversity around the world. As she joins the ranks of the few female CEOs in the Middle East, the opportunity to widen cultural perspectives on the role women can play in the economy can become more prevalent.
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