Women CEOs From Europe to Dominate Trade Delegation to U.A.E.

(Bloomberg) -- Companies headed by women will account for more than half of the 50 European businesses joining a delegation the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry is taking to the United Arab Emirates, a nation seeking to increase the role of women in its society.

The trip next month aims to encourage business from Middle East industries including engineering, architecture and solar energy for small to medium-sized enterprises, according to a statement. Those on the trip are slated to meet with the Dubai Business Women Council, the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“The quality of the companies on the mission and the support they are given will result in increased export orders,” said Peter Bishop, deputy chief executive of the London chamber.

The focus on women-run businesses comes as the U.A.E. government seeks to enhance the nation’s position in global rankings of gender equality, and remove the perception that it is a difficult place for women to do business. The government recently created the U.A.E. Gender Balance Council to improve women’s participation in government.

The Dubai-based Links Group, which helps foreign companies operate in the U.A.E. and Qatar, is sponsoring the mission. It aims to “highlight the importance of women in the workforce, and to dispel myths many may have about the role of working women in the Arab world,” said Julie Irving, a partner at Links Group, in the statement.

The trip includes European companies in engineering, architecture, solar energy, education, fashion and design, information technology, and food and drink, tourism and transport and logistics. The statement didn’t identify any by name.