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Listed companies must have at least one female board member: SCA

reporters@khaleejtimes.com Filed on March 15, 2021
Increasing women’s representation on boards of directors contributes to achieving the objectives of the UAE Gender Balance Council to narrow the gender gap in all fields.

Women sit on the boards of 28 of the 110 listed companies in the UAE.

Listed companies in the UAE must have at least one woman on their board of directors, the Securities and Commodities Authority said.

The move, an amendment of a previous decision by the authority’s board, is “in the context of keenness to empower Emirati women and encourage them to play a greater role in the boards of directors of listed companies,” the SCA said in a statement on Sunday.

Women sit on the boards of 28 of the 110 listed companies in the UAE, but only make up 3.5 per cent of all board positions, according to Aurora50, a UAE-based social enterprise working towards increasing female representation on boards.

Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment, and wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, commended the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority’s decision to make representation of women on boards of directors of listed companies mandatory.

Sheikha Manal said this decision is a vital step towards further empowering women in line with international best practices and affirmed that this decision, which is aligned with the UAE’s leadership vision, can bring about wide-ranging positive benefits including enhanced performance of boards and companies, greater national economic growth and increased socio-economic participation of women.

Sheikha Manal further said: “Increasing women’s representation on boards of directors contributes to achieving the objectives of the UAE Gender Balance Council to narrow the gender gap in all fields and increase women’s representation in leadership and decision-making positions in both public and private sectors.”

The UAE has made significant strides in enhancing women’s representation in decision-making positions, Sheikha Manal said this commitment has led to the country becoming the first in the region to issue binding legislation mandating women’s representation on the boards of government institutions. This was made possible by a decision of the UAE Cabinet, which adopted the “Women on Boards” initiative launched by her in 2011.

The steadfast support women have received from the UAE’s leadership and Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), has made the nation a regional model for gender balance, said Sheikha Manal.

The UAE topped the Middle East and North Africa region rankings in the World Bank’s newly released 2021 ‘Women, Business and the Law’ (WBL) index. The UAE also achieved the 18th ranking globally and maintained its top regional ranking in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2020 Gender Inequality Index (GII) issued last December.

Sheikha Manal noted that the UAE Gender Balance Council organised a virtual training on the “Guide for Women on Boards” as part of the UAE’s efforts to enhance the capacities of women in leadership and decision-making positions. Developed jointly by the Council and the Securities and Commodities Authority, the guide outlines the benefits that enhancing women’s inclusion on boards of directors will bring in the areas of financial performance, consumer feedback, corporate governance practices, and sustainability. — With inputs from Reuters, business@khaleejtimes.com

Staff Reporter





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