Interview with Farida Al-Awadi, President of the Emirates Business Women Council and the country’s first female interior designer

Me. Al-Awadi studied at George Washington University in the United States, specializing in art and interior design. She was one of the first women to start working in the design field in the UAE, at a time when this field was not known in the country.

Colleague Abdel Moneim Makki of United Nations News met with engineer Farida Al-Awadi, on the sidelines of the Global Forum for Entrepreneurs and Investment in Dubai, and had a dialogue with her about her experience as a feminist pioneer in the field. of entrepreneurship in the Arab region, and the challenges that Emirati women face in entering the business world.

Women in the UAE received most of the support

Mrs Al-Awadi began her speech by saying that women in the UAE “have received the lion’s share of support. We always say that we are happy with our leaders and rulers who are the right partner and the best partner in building women. has seen society, along with her male brother. “

I worked in my field for a long time, learned many things, got to know the Emirati markets and knew the suffering of Emirati women at that time. That was in 1989, and the amount of support (that women receive) was then not the same as what they receive today. The style of study was different, more specialized, and there were very few women’s entry into the business world. Our number was the size of fingers, and things were not easy.

As a woman, everyone expected me to be an engineer in the design of housing, buildings and private homes. But I chose another area of ​​design which is to focus on projects outside the four walls so that people can see my work better and to show everyone that I am serious and have enough information so that I can build trust with them. The most convenient way to do this was to start small projects. My first project was to design a children’s store in one of the main streets of Dubai. In time, I was able to expand my stores. It moved from commercial projects to offices, banks, restaurants and hotels.

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Farida Al-Awadi, an interior design engineer, was the first female interior design engineer in the UAE, chair of the Emirates Business Women Council

Obstacles and challenges

There were problems because our lives have always been separated between men and women. Today you are talking about the business world, which means you are dealing with men. And because I’m in the business of commercial projects, I’re undoubtedly dealing with men, and for that reason everyone expected me to focus on villas and residential projects, but my ambition was greater than just focusing on villas.

The obstacles were mainly concentrated in dealing with the market, a lack of knowledge of markets, the business community and administrative matters, because during my studies I focused on my specialization, and not on administrative matters. I did not know at that stage that I would start my own business, so it was very necessary to arm myself with information in management, accounting and marketing to cope with the expansion of the business. Over time, I was able to prove myself not only in the UAE market, but in the entire Gulf region.


Emirates Business Women Council

The Emirates Businesswomen’s Council was established in 2005, with the aim of supporting women and enabling them to access the greatest amount of information and empower them in their commercial activities.

We encourage women to enter the business world in the UAE. Since I was one of the first in this field, I felt it was my duty to work on the paving and facilitation of the road for our sisters who wanted to enter this field, and therefore I was one of the founders of the Emirates Businesswomen’s Council. We started with a group of women, with the encouragement and follow-up of the government, to form this council. We were able to accomplish this by God’s grace. Thereafter, local councils were established in each emirate. There are seven councils in the UAE, one for each emirate. All of these councils fall under the umbrella of the Emirates Business Women Council. This council has a strong and important role to play in empowering and raising women’s awareness in this area, and in providing them with information they may not have thought of.

The world of markets does not distinguish between a man and a woman

In our Arab and Islamic nature, the young man today talks to his father in all sessions about business and the money market, which means that two men meet and talk about business and what is happening in the stock market and the stock market. But women, by nature, are somewhat far removed from these hadiths. This is due to our lack of knowledge of the importance of this matter. Here is the importance of expertise and knowledge.

If you ask a businesswoman to enter the world of the market, the woman meets another world. The world of markets does not distinguish between a man and a woman. He understands the logic of numbers. Loss and profit do not distinguish between a man and a woman. Therefore, we must arm ourselves with science. And knowledge changes and multiplies day by day. And knowledge never stops.

From right, Farida Al-Awadi, President of the Emirates Businesswomen Council with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States

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From right, Farida Al-Awadi, President of the Emirates Businesswomen Council with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States

Expo Dubai is a networking event

As the Emirates Businesswomen’s Council, we benefited from the large number of businesswomen who visited Expo 2020, from all countries of the world, and there was communication between us and them and we signed agreements with them. We have signed an important agreement to establish an association between businesswomen in Arab countries and all countries of the world.

Tips for Starting Entrepreneurs

Engineer Farida Al-Awadi gave advice to young women who want to enter the business world. She said:

You should not be content with what you know. Today, countries are changing their policies and lives are changing as well. The future came to us faster than we expected.

We as women are not going to compete with men because the word competition is wrong

I say to our girls, let’s put our hands above each other’s hands, the young generation with the adult generation, to establish a strong base and gain expertise, experience and technology.

Age means nothing to male and female entrepreneurs. A female entrepreneur can be 17 or 70 years old, but as long as you have passion, desire and dream within you, that’s what counts. It’s about the science, the passion and the urge in you, that’s all you need.

We as women are not going to compete with men because the word competition is wrong. We are here to complete the roles because the Lord of the worlds created us in pairs. We want to join hands with the rest of our sisters in the rest of the Arab countries and continue our role in building a healthy and luxurious society that respects everyone and loves peace and success for all.

Second from right, Farida Al-Awadi, President of the Emirates Business Women Council

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Second from right, Farida Al-Awadi, President of the Emirates Business Women Council

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