4 - 7 DECEMBER 2023


Interview with Nadine Halabi


Interview with Nadine Halabi, Business Development Manager of the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) The Big 5 Exhibition 2022

  • Please introduce yourself to our audience and your role within the DBWC.

My name is Nadine Halabi and I am the Business Development Manager at the Dubai Business Women Council. I joined the Council in 2011 and since then I have adopted an intrapreneurial approach to business, which enabled me to continue charting the course of helping working women in Dubai develop their skills and abilities through various mentorship and accelerator programmes to continuously support their career and personal development. I have a team of 3 remarkable young ladies who share the same vision, passion, and enthusiasm towards the work we do, and this makes it a lot easier and far more pleasant to implement the mission and vision of the council.


  • What successes have the DBWC had in recent years with supporting group members and championing women in the workplace?

Since its establishment in 2022, the council has been providing education, training and networking opportunities to aid in achieving holistic development and meeting career aspirations of UAE-based business women (both Emirati and expatriates).

We curate and put together tailored workshops and seminars, exclusively for our members , to help provide valuable information about the latest knowledge, skills , market trends and best practices for women entrepreneurs and leaders. We have also launched several cycles of our flagship Mentorship program as well as various accelerator programmes in partnership with multinational organizations as well as entities within the private and public sectors.

In addition, being one of the initiatives of Dubai Chambers, the DBWC receives international delegations from around the world and acts as a representative organization of the businesswomen landscape in Dubai and across the UAE, paving the way to possible bilateral trade opportunities while also erasing any possible false stereotype that others may have about the women of Dubai and the UAE.

  • What goals are you hoping to achieve by partnering with The Big 5?

The strategic partnership between the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) and The Big 5, one of the most important international exhibitions in the construction sector, is not only strategic but also distinctive and integrated, as we share the same vision.

We, at the DBWC, are tirelessly working and making every possible effort to empower working women and strengthen their competitive edge in the labor market. Similarly, the Big 5 embraces innovation to support both male and female employees.

In today’s world, women have become the backbone of nations’ development journeys, and acknowledging that fact, we share with the organizers of The Big 5 Exhibition a common vision to support women working in the construction sector and promote the concepts of diversity, inclusion, and trust in women's abilities to excel in this vital sector.

We are all aware of how important the construction industry is to Dubai's economy and its progress towards building the future. This year, we joined forces with the Big 5 exhibition to showcase the pivotal role that women can play in this major industry. We are committed to offering all forms of support to achieve the DBWC's goals of strengthening the competitive edge of women and upgrading their role in the construction industry.


  • Do you believe that construction companies play a role in advancing gender equality not only in the workplace but also in the marketplace and community?

Gender equality has become a core value for successful corporations. This applies to construction firms, which must lead by example in supporting gender equality to establish themselves as responsible and distinguished entities.

It is well known that gender equality is not limited to certain sectors, as it is an international concept applicable to all working environments and widely impacting the market and the community.

We all know that women are underrepresented in the construction industry as well as other “ male-dominant “ ones. But we can improve this situation. In my opinion, if construction companies are to successfully implement gender equality at work, they will be better equipped to support and promote this concept in both the marketplace and the wider community because they will be viewed as role models. Accordingly, such firms will improve their reputation, demonstrate their leadership, sow the seeds of moral corporate conduct, promote sustainability in the community, and impose high market standards.

Yes, the construction and engineering sectors play a fundamental role, and I believe that this role is crucial for reshaping the perception of women's talents in the respective industry.

  • What can the construction industry learn about advancing inclusion and diversity from other industry sectors?

I believe the construction industry can successfully and comfortably implement the best inclusion and diversity practices adopted by other sectors.

For instance, construction firms can strengthen the sense of belonging at work, provide equal and fair professional development opportunities for all staff, support innovation and creativity among all employees, raise staff awareness of the value of inclusion and diversity, and foster teamwork spirits and cooperation.

If such practices were to be successfully implemented, outstanding results would be achieved, as diversity in the business environment is crucial to fostering innovation and creativity.

Recent studies revealed that the top-performing organizations in terms of gender diversity outperformed their rivals by 21%, while businesses that prioritize fostering diversity in the workplace are viewed as responsible and ethical ones. Another study conducted by Deloitte found that 67% of job seekers view diversity as an important factor when evaluating job offers.

Of course, these are some of the advantages of promoting diversity and inclusion. They can all be applicable to construction companies.


  • How can the industry support and inspire the younger generation of female construction professionals, and what can male champions of women's empowerment do to further support their female colleagues?


To inspire and encourage more women to work in the construction industry, we should focus on female role models and celebrate them. It is crucial to share success stories of women in the industry to encourage other female professionals to engage in this exciting industry. Also, providing training opportunities together with competitive advantages can stimulate and encourage the younger generation of women to join the construction sector.

In addition, male supporters of women's inclusion must speak up in order to inspire female counterparts to participate in all sectors of the economy; however, competence and experience should always remain the defining factors in the highly competitive market.

The DBWC strongly believes that women are capable of working in all fields and that it is our responsibility to train and sharpen their skills to help them be in a better position to handle all challenges and responsibilities.

  • How do you see the future of women in construction in the Middle East developing, and in which areas do you think the most progress will be made?

"Gender equality and diversity in the construction sector in the Middle East are under construction." It is a work in progress, but I am very optimistic about the future. The upcoming phase will be one of shifting mindsets, innovation, and progress. Therefore, we ought to utilize international forums like The Big 5 to discuss the key role that women can play in driving the growth of the construction sector and highlight their rising participation on all levels.

Women can work successfully as engineers, architects, construction site managers, quality specialists, and other professions associated with the industry. We must all make sure to offer them the chance to prove their skills and unleash their potential.