With over 15 years of experience in the corporate realm, Samar Elmnhrawy, Nissan’s Vice President of HR for Middle East, Africa and India, believes that the term ‘woman empowerment’ is unfavourable. And for the right reasons indeed. “It makes me believe that we are talking about woman as an alien or a minority group,” Elmnhrawy said.

In the past decade, feminism has gained momentum all over the world. In the Middle East, it was only last year that Saudi Arabia legalised driving for women. Having sufficient experience in the corporate sector, Elmnhrawy believes that there is a false perception of how a woman can progress.

“If an individual, man or woman, can show their value to the organisation and deliver steady performance alongside the right networking and a few sponsors, it will really help their careers in the corporate world,” says Elmnhrawy.

Further explaining the meaning of sponsorship in the corporate world, Elmnhrawy states that women can find those influential individuals and tag on their expertise, having coaching and mentorship of what one can do, how can one position themselves differently so that they can actually progress with their career. Someone who will advocate you in the corporate environment.

At the moment, among major automotive conglomerates around the world, the employment share of females is just around six percent, which is alarming. “Even the best companies today are targeting 20 to 25 percent which shouldn’t be the case because you need to target 50 percent for equal treatment,” says Elmnhrawy.

Nissan, being a sponsor for the Women in Automotive forum for the next two years, will focus on how to raise the awareness in terms of the value chain, starting from the government, the regulators, and how they can be influenced to have more availability for women in the automotive industry.

Where does the problem lie? Is it in the cultural mindset of regions such as the Middle East, Africa and India where women have a lower position in the society? Listen to the complete podcast to know more about Samar Elmnhrawy’s view of women in the automotive industry.