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News & opinion

10 MAR 2019

Fostering gender balance in a workplace

Gender equality is critical to business performance and sustainable economic growth globally. If the full potential of women and girls was unleashed, it could add more than $12 trillion to the global GDP, driving significant positive impacts on business productivity and bottom line (McKinsey Global Institute report).

This International Women’s Day, RICS in the Middle East signed the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), which are aligned with RICS’ priority of adopting, promoting and embedding a culture of trust and diversity, including gender equality.

Launched in 2010, the WEPs initiative has been dedicated in transforming business policies, practices and approaches to advance gender equality and create opportunities for women. A UN Women and UN Global Compact initiative, WEPs offer seven steps to guide business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. These principles contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, Goal 5 for Gender Equality.

Women Empowerment Principles

Yasmine Nashawati, RICS Dispute Resolution Services Manager and MENA D&I Champion, received the WEPs certificate at the 'Empowering Women in Construction' event hosted by SNC Lavalin.

The principles focus on:


Business leaders making gender equality a top priority by working towards gender parity on all levels of the company. 


Advancing gender equality through recruitment, retention and promotion policies.


Removing negative stereotypes from advertising and marketing.


Tailoring products and services to meet the expressed needs and priorities of women and girls.


Gathering, analysing and reporting sex-disaggregated data and gender statistics about company performance on gender equality.

Diversity and inclusion is about accepting people of all different backgrounds, experiences and opinions to create a harmonious workforce.  At the end of the day a business is only as good as the people it hires.

Natalie Obayda
RICS Strategic Relations & Development Manager

Building a 21st-century professional body through equality, diversity and inclusion is a priority for RICS. Encouraging girls to take up careers in surveying by outreach programs at schools and universities, twitter campaigns like #womeninsurveying and ensuring that the success of prominent females is highlighted are all ways RICS is working to increase the number of females in the built environment sector. RICS has also had two female Presidents who have contributed extensively to this agenda.

To ensure that our profession is fit and relevant for the future, respecting and valuing differences, with a commitment to equal treatment and equal opportunity are vital.