Dalya Alkhalaf is the Director of Marketing and Communication at Media City Qatar
What has been the impact of COVID-19 on the media sector in Qatar?
Like all industries we’ve seen some rapidly shifting market dynamics which I don’t see any clear winners from other than some of those following digital disruptor strategies in food, service and streaming. As an industry we’ve seen the standard rounds of redundancies as companies pulled back on media spend, production etc. which is having a knock-on effect to the media eco-system. While saying this I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a number of companies within the media industry that have adapted incredibly well and fast to the change in environment.
Do you think the pandemic has affected career opportunities for females? If yes, how?
For working mothers (single mothers in particular) I think the impact has been especially harmful. With the closure of schools or the reduced operating hours of schools and the level of unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic working mothers are faced with further balancing acts of their work commitments and family. In saying this I see the struggles of all within society adapting to the new norm in particular the impact on the elderly both physically and emotionally.
How do you promote gender diversity and equality in your organization?
For me this is pretty simple. Candidates and employees are given the same opportunity and will ultimately be judged on their output. How I personally promote diversity and equality is very much around performance and output. Both genders play important and at times slightly play different roles in society and the workplace. As long as these differences are appreciated and catered for and not used as a reason to hold a particular gender back. Women do have a harder challenge than men, as Professor Jordan Peterson said; “Many women around the age of between 28 and 32, have a career-family crisis that they have to deal with. And I think that’s partly, because of the foreshortened timeframe that women have to contend with. Women have to get the major pieces of their life put together faster than men.”
Do you think the recovery from COVID-19 will happen in the next 1-2 years or will it take longer?
The million Riyal question. Most academics point to history and a range of between 2-10 years for a partial to full recovery. What is very clear that the demise of certain industries that were struggling pre-covid most likely won’t make it back, such as traditional retail. The gig economy, remote working solutions and disruptor tech companies are primed to excel.
How has technology helped your industry sector last year? The accelerated digitalization that followed the pandemic is thought to be conducive for women empowerment and may potentially become a catalyst for gender diversity in the workplace. What’s your view on that? And does this apply to women in Qatar?
Very interesting question, yes if it helps with balancing of a good productive work life balance. This also needs the encouragement of employers. We as a young nation are prime for adjusting and adopting new digital ways of working. If this is led from the perspective of becoming more redundant in work practices especially in the corporate office sector and services, there is no reason why Qatar can’t drive this new working culture and become known globally. As you’re aware we are heavily reliant on our expatriate workforce, with the restrictions of travel globally and the downturn in economic performance we can be the model for remote working whilst continuing our economic growth. The more we move to a remote working culture utilizing people from around the world the more opportunities will become available for women.