Gender diversity has positive impact on hospitality sector

Point of View –
Dagmar Symes –

Oman is known for its natural wealth and resources. However, the past few years have witnessed a shift in the country’s development to highlight the Sultanate as a prime tourist destination with an emphasis on diversification.
The Sultanate is a nation long steeped in traditional principles, featuring men as the bread winners and decision makers, while the women are referred to as “housewives”. Yet, the role of women in the country’s workforce is imperative to take the industry forward.

Influential sector
As Oman is developing at a fast pace in all aspects, tourism is currently highlighted as the most influential sector in the nation’s diversification drive.
Diversification and inclusion are industry wide issues.
Part of our vision is to support local talents in the workplace where I head. As such, training plays an integral part. Not only do we use the strong base of our training brand standards, but creative and innovative methods developed together with our team support in this regard.
We ensure that our team members complete monthly on-line training and provide numerous in-house training modules, setting our local talents for success. We consistently provide English lessons to improve their communication skills and tap external specialised professionals to provide additional training.
We have a number of success stories to report. Our local shining stars, who launched their journey with us, are now in leading positions in all field of the business.
Even though women are increasingly joining the workforce, drifting away from traditional career fields such as teaching and nursing, the approach to the hospitality and service industry is somewhat of a shy and compelling nature.

Gender diversity
Driving gender diversity within the industry has been a challenge. But as the region is becoming more open towards women and is breaking down cultural barriers, this advancement will have a positive effect on the industry.
CSR related activities have been fully championed by our female workforce in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate in general. The visit of the children’s ward in the local hospital in Nizwa, the breast cancer awareness walkathon as well as world mental health awareness day, are examples to name a few.
Over the years, expatriate female workers have been serving as prime catalysts for an emerging women’s employment culture, raising the awareness of local female talents.
The younger female generation does not shy away from fields that used to be viewed as male strongholds. The principle should be recognition on deliverables, skillset and equal remuneration.
Organisations that focus on increasing diversification and inclusion in the industry will increase and enhance their employer image and brand value.
As General Manager of one of the best hotels in the Arab region, it is dear to my heart to inspire through my position, young women in the country and to showcase and develop their talent.
Future leaders
Our female workforce is treated the same as any male employee with a high focus on performance. Hospitality is a very diverse metier and thus supports career driven women in various fields of their expertise. I personally undertake presentations at educational institutions and universities alike with regards to my ‘4 E’s’, namely Encourage, Engage, Enable and Empower young women to stand up with confidence for their personal career development.
This is underlined in the vision forward to closely liaise with local educational institutions and encourage our female talents to believe in their true potential as future leaders.
This spirit of awakening is truly echoing in the country and it is rewarding to take part in shaping the future for female local talents to lead the way forward.
The author is General Manager, Anantara Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Jabal Al Akhdar, Nizwa. Her views were part of the ‘Hotelier Great GM Debate’ held recently in Dubai where she spoke about ‘Women in Hospitality.’