Western businesswomen may face a glass ceiling, but Middle Eastern women speak of the "cement ceiling" -- a barrier that's both more visible and far harder to break through. Still, experts say, an institutional shift is taking place that does allow some women to win a seat at the table. "The bottom line is whether you can deliver dollars -- or dirhams. You have to prove that it doesn't matter, gender-wise, who sits there," says Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi, the UAE's minister of foreign trade.
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