Dubai Airports has launched a new career development programme targeted at Emirati women, as the organisation looks to “reaffirm its commitment” to the region’s female workforce.

Details of the Aspiring Women’s Programme were unveiled during an event held on the 3rd Emirati Women’s Day.

The nine-month programme will include leadership coaching, workplace challenges, workshops, and advice on how women can build their network across the organisation and the wider sector, said the airport management company.

It has been designed to ensure that women play an important role in the future of the UAE’s aviation industry and will ultimately lead to a professional qualification, recognised by the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Ann-Marie Campbell, executive vice president of human resources and development at Dubai Airports, said she believed the programme would “harness the potential of the many dynamic Emirati women” within the organisation.

Dubai Airports currently employs more than 200 Emirati women, in a variety of roles – 32 per cent of which are leadership positions. It hopes to increase this figure as it encourages more women into the growing aviation sector.

The industry is predicted to support more than 750,000 jobs in Dubai by 2020, according to Oxford Economics’ 2014 report Quantifying the Economic Impact of Aviation in Dubai – the equivalent of 29.5 per cent of all projected employment in Dubai.

The programme also supports the UAE’s national agenda to increase the level of female workforce participation, and to become one of the world’s top 25 countries for gender equality. In addition to the development of Emirati women’s careers, Dubai Airport said it had extended maternity leave and increased nursing hours available to women with children.

In May this year, a new rule came into effect which entitles Dubai government employees to three months’ paid maternity leave – an increase on the previous allowance of 45 days paid leave.

Annual leave can also be combined with maternity leave, offering up to 120 days in total.

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