Forbes Middle East


Three Women Make History As First Female Partners At A Big Four Consultancy

Jamila Gandhi
Three Women Make History As First Female Partners At A Big Four ConsultancyImage source: Wikimedia Commons

Professional consultancy services firm EY announced the appointment of 20 new partners to its services lines and industry sectors across the MENA region, including three women making history as the first female nationals in their countries to join the EY partnership.

Heba Wadie, an Egyptian national who has been with the consultancy firm since 2014 as a tax director and the region’s tax learning leader, was promoted to partner in the tax specialty practice. Similarly, after working for the firm since 2011 and climbing the ranks to become director in the business tax advisory practice last year, Saudi national Esraa Al-Buti was promoted to partner in the tax practice. Whereas Emirati Wardah Ebrahim was given audit partner responsibilities in the U.A.E., after working at EY since 2006 and serving as the firm’s regional assurance talent leader since 2016. The three women have contributed to the rise in regional partner count to a total of 218.

In light of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the nation has been active in encouraging female employment. In May 2017, King Salman declared that women no longer needed permission to take up employment. The country’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development reported 600,000 female nationals have already entered the Kingdom’s job market since the change in the law. 

“I am truly proud to see the number of female partners at EY grow each year, it is a testament to our commitment to advance gender equality and create more inclusive boardrooms,” said Abdulaziz Al-Sowailim, MENA Chairman and CEO, EY.  

The news follows the Big Four accounting corporation’s global admission of 733 people who were promoted to partner across the globe. The number of females promoted to partner in 2019 has tripled from those announced in 2018. For the fifth consecutive year, women and emerging markets represent nearly a third of this year’s new partner class, at 30% and 33% respectively.

Jamila is a wealth reporter at Forbes Middle East Magazine, where her work includes billionaires’ philanthropy, influence and leadership insights.

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