One year on: Canon announces expansion of its ‘Young Women Mentorship Programme’ on International Women’s Day

Dubai, March 7, 2019 – In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, Canon in Middle East and Central and North Africa announced that it is expanding its ‘Young Women Mentorship Programme,’ which is aimed at supporting young women gain the right knowledge and training to pursue their goals and achieve their full potential.

The ‘Young Women Mentorship Programme,’ was officially launched on International Women’s Day last year where Canon committed to supporting young female students looking to gain more understanding beyond their university education about organisations and how they operate. Over the last year, two Emirati students were mentored and coached for two months by a senior Canon executive to gain an insightful understanding about businesses, work environments and the required education and training to achieve successful careers. 

“My experience at Canon was, in a word, exceptional,” said Madia Abdulla, one of the interns who was part of the programme last year. “What makes Canon stand out from other companies is the diversity of the employees and the remarkable harmony that exists in spite of all the differences. The level of cooperation and tolerance is unmatched by any other environment that I have experienced. I found everyone working at Canon to be very pleasant, accommodating, and patient, three qualities that worked in my favour, given it was my first time being an intern. The experience equipped me with the tools I would need to thrive in other workplaces and taught me invaluable lessons that I highly doubt I would have learned elsewhere.”

Due to the success of the programme last year, Canon is extending the programme to 15 of its existing interns in 2019 to nurture their talent, build their self-confidence and inspire them to discover and fulfil their career aspirations.  The programme in 2019 will include two thirty-minute sessions per month, and the sessions will be offered by four of Canon’s female management team members.

Mai Youssef, Corporate Communications & Marketing Services Director, ‎Canon Middle East and Central and North Africa, said: “We are proud that the programme was a success and that we are able to offer this opportunity to more female students. The ‘Young Women Mentorship Programme’ is dedicated to empowering young women who are ready to go to the next level of their education and training, so they are ready to start their journey toward a successful career. I look forward to participating as one of the mentors within the programme.”

“Recent reports have proven that working women can increase household income to ensure a better standard of living for their families, as well as drive overall GDP increase in the region – so their contributions are invaluable, and Canon is fully behind giving these young women all the support required,” added Veronica Juul-Nyholm, Human Resources Director, Canon Middle East and Central and North Africa.

To further support the development of the ‘Young Women Mentorship Programme,’ Canon conducted an internal survey to gather insights on the view of their current interns’ experiences and their expectations from the internship. The survey’s main findings showcased that their ideal environment would be working in an organisation with a dynamic environment, friendly employees and approachable managers, as well as on the job training, coaching and mentoring about a variety of tasks.

Encouraging women to achieve their potential and to actively contribute to society is crucial, especially in the region where there are significant opportunities for growth to achieve global economic competitiveness. McKinsey estimates that if women's labour force participation rates equalled that of men, the region could see an additional $2.7 trillion in GDP by 2025, and this is only one of the main benefits. The firm also estimates that companies with three or more women in senior management score higher in all dimensions of organizational performance.

Canon understands the value and strength of women, and for this reason it also established a work environment that supports women to excel and achieve their potential in the workplace. As a result, more than half of Canon in Middle East and Central and north Africa’s leadership positions today are filled by women. Canon also encourages women to return to the workforce and achieve success after a career break. For instance, it introduced extended maternity leave and flexible working hours to provide more career opportunities for women in the technology and imaging industry.

The ‘Young Women Mentorship Programme’ and Canon’s internal opportunities for women both deliver on the organisation’s global corporate philosophy of ‘Kyosei,’ which means living and working together for the common good. By creating the space and opportunity for women in the region to grow professionally, Canon is powerfully demonstrating its commitment to the philosophy.