210. Critical Thinking: 3 Ways Arab Businesswomen Can Find Equality In Male-Dominated Societies

05 takeaways from this talk:

00:00:59 ‘Are women not as important as men?’ is probably one of the most difficult and important questions for Arab women, businesswomen, and mothers to answer.

While all women (Eastern, Middle-Eastern, and Western) must lead different lives with different constraints, women in unequal societies must juggle more than Arab men and face more cultural rigidity than Western women.

00:02:00 Apart from the few innovative men out there, modern Arab businesswoman (identified as generations X & Y in the Western world) in a male-dominated environment do not have many mentors and role models they can identify with, and have thus had to become the leaders and mentors for tomorrow’s businesswomen because the generation before them (identified as Baby Boomers in the Western world) weren’t concerned with business and leadership.

Following are three lessons on success from Leila Hoteit:

LESSON 1. Convert their sh*t into your own fuel.

00:03:00 Resilience can be essentially defined as the ability to ‘turn shit into fuel.’

“When women have children, their place is in the home.” – ‘John’

A person’s beliefs about culture and ‘the way things are ‘supposed’ to be’ are that person’s own issues an complexes, not yours. Don’t let their issues and complexes become yours.

Success is the best revenge. Instead of letting their words and judgments hurt you and define your future, or acceding to your desire to tell that person off, show that person who who is dealing with their issues and complexes what you are capable of by instead smiling and being happy. Doing this will drive them crazy and help them in their journey to dealing with their issues and complexes.

Other people’s negativity is their own issue, not yours. Instead of accepting it as negativity, turn it into your own fuel.

LESSON 2. Work your life to keep work out of your life.

00:07:15 Until all societies reach sex equality, an ambitious businesswoman living in male-dominated societies will still be expected to first and foremost maintain their homes and raise their children with little help from their male counterparts before managing her career.

Therefore as an ambitious woman, who you choose to marry is your own choice, and you better marry someone strong enough to support you if you plan on achieving your goals long-term.

00:08:14 Additional, how you exploit the rules in your society determines your ability to effectively managing your family and professional life. For example, in the Middle-East foreign domestic help is affordable and easy to find. Your challenge then becomes, just as a company’s Human Resources recruiting department, finding help you can rely on and who will support you as you develop your career.

LESSON 3. Join forces; don’t compete.

00:10:52 Perhaps one of the reasons why modern Arab businesswomen aren’t very prominent is because they weren’t very prominent as they were raised. This only means that these ‘behind-the-scenes’ businesswomen are highly-skilled professional networkers.

Western businesswomen seem to view other businesswomen as competitors for a single top-level position rather than support to help raise all women up.

When women help each other, all women benefit.