A Step Towards Equality, Conference by BLC Bank
Journey of Success and Leadership: What are the requirements?
“For every dollar a man earns, on average a woman is paid 25 cents.” According to the estimated earned income, mentioned in the global gender gap report 2018 by the World Economic Forum.
BLC Bank recognized the importance of this topic, chose women, and valued their tremendous contribution to the society. As the first bank in the region committed to women’s economic empowerment, BLC Bank held a conference entitled "A Step Towards Equality" under the patronage of Minister of Economy and Trade His Excellency Mr. Mansour Bteish at the Kempinski Summerland Hotel and Resort in Beirut, and represented by the CEO of BLC Bank Mr. Bassam Hassan who emphasized:
"We have a strong conviction and a firm belief that women are like men in moving the economic wheel forward, and they are on the same path in improving the society, hence attaining equality is a crucial part in achieving economic growth and sustainable development."
The conference was inaugurated with speeches by Head of Marketing Group Mrs. Maya Margie Younes and President of Alumni Central Mr. Wael Kechli, highlighting We Initiative’s contribution for the employees, customers and the community, all without discrimination.
Ms. Zeina Zeidan, Chair of the Board at Royal Financials, discussed the steps and measures to be taken to bridge the wage gap in the institutions. The conference was divided into several sessions. The opening session was attended by Ms. Abir Chebaro, Advisor to the President of the Council of Ministers on Women's Affairs and Vice President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women, Ms. Randa Bahsoun, Board Member of PWC Middle East Region and Ms. Ayla Ziz, Managing Director of Unilever for Levant and Iraq. The session was moderated by Ms. Léa Hakim, Co-Founder and Board of Trustees Member at Alumni Central.
The second session focused on "Family Business: A Barrier or an Opportunity for Women?" where family business constitutes more than 85% of the private sector and contributes to more than 80 % of the Lebanese National GDP (International Finance Corporation IFC, 2016). The succession process represents one of the most critical events in the family business life-cycle.
On one hand, Ms. Caroline Fattal, Founder of “Stand for Women” NGO and Board Member of Fattal Group, shared her experience on the challenges women face towards their families to demonstrate their entrepreneurial skills. On the other hand, Dr Josiane Fahed-Sreih, Director of the Institute of Family and Entrepreneurial Business at the Lebanese American University, shed the light on studies on family institutions and shared tips on the subject.
The third session revolved around "how expensive is your bill as a woman?”, a topic tackled by Ms. Aline Kamakian, Owner and CEO of Fig Holding, and Ms. Marilyn Zakhour, CMO at Emaar Properties, while focusing on entrepreneurs, women in business and barriers in financing their projects.
Under the title “Balance for Better”, the last session was moderated by Ms. Rebecca Bou Chebel-Macmillan, International Strategic Communications and Reputation Management Advisor, and held by Ms. Asmahan Zein, Partner in Filovault Crypta sal and President of the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB) and Mr. Saad Sabrah, Lebanon Country Head of IFC by the World Bank Group, and Mr. Yasser Akkawi, Founder of Capital Concept. According to an IFC report, only 4.4 % of Lebanese companies have women on their governing boards. The session addressed mechanisms to drive change in this area for discussion, based on the question of how a diverse panel of complementary skill set and experiences can positively affect company operations and strategy.
The conference was wrapped up by the CEO of BLC Bank Mr. Bassam Hassan. The conference was hosted by Ms. Youmna Naufal, producer of Y Chats and included recommendations and reforms where a white paper will be drafted and presented to regulators and policy makers.