UAE Gender Balance Council highlights global, regional achievements

Dubai - The UAE was ranked first across the Arab world in in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report for the year 2021.

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A Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 23 Jun 2021, 2:13 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Jun 2021, 2:21 PM

The UAE Gender Balance Council held its second annual meeting for the year 2021, during which it reviewed the initiatives and projects soon to be launched in accordance with the council’s vision and overarching strategic objectives.

The council’s plans have been developed in line with the directives of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the Council and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, with the aim of further main streaming gender across federal institutions in light of the UAE’s most recent global achievements in relevant indicators.

The meeting was chaired by Mona Al Marri, vice-president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, and was attended by members Younis Haji Al Khouri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance; Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Awar, Director General of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources; Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Secretary General of the General Women’s Union; Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy; Huda Al Hashemi, Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs and Chief of Strategy and Government Innovation of the UAE Government; Reem Al Falasi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood; Hessa Tahlak, Assistant Under Secretary of Social Development at the Ministry of Community Development; Hanan Ahli, Acting Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre; and Shamsa Saleh, Secretary General of the UAE Gender Balance Council.

New initiatives

Al Marri discussed a number of the Council’s current and upcoming projects, including the “Global Best Practices for Gender Balance Toolkit’, a resource which consolidates distinguished global gender balance practices.

The Council held consultations with global experts during April and May in cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), adding that the Council is finalising the Toolkit in preparation for its official launch at the World Government Summit during Expo 2020 in Dubai. This Toolkit, she added, will also be made available electronically on the Council’s website as well as the OECD’s, serving as a comprehensive global reference that will include global legislative models and successful practical policies on how to embed a gender perspective in governments. The Toolkit also details best practices in designing gender-responsive policies, programmes, and frameworks to promote meaningful gender balance throughout the world.

17 women join boards of publicly listed companies

The meeting also addressed the developments of the Securities and Commodities Authority’s decision last March, obligating publicly listed companies to include at least one woman on boards of directors. The positive impact of this decision was that 17 women were elected to the boards of directors of 16 listed companies this year.

As part of its recent participation in global forums, the Council represented the UAE under the coordination of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation during the 24th annual session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The Council also participated in the 65th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65), during which the Council organized the fifth Global Gender Circle virtually under the title "Women's Participation and Leadership: From Strategy to Practice”.

Saleh represented the Council during an interactive session organised by UN Women, titled “Covid-19 and women’s leadership: From an effective response to building back better”, during which she shared the UAE experience in women’s empowerment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Saleh also represented the Council at the first meeting of the G20 Alliance for the Empowerment and Progression of Women’s Economic Representation (G20 EMPOWER), which was launched in 2019 to accelerate women’s leadership and empowerment in the private sector.

Advancing in international indicators

During the meeting, Hanan Ahli, acting-director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, highlighted the latest developments in the performance of the UAE in global competitiveness indicators.

Ahli stated that the UAE has specific reforms in gender balance policy and legislation, which have been recognised internationally. She noted that the UAE ranked first in the Mena region in the World’ Banks “Women, Business and the Law” Index 2021.

This was a pioneering achievement, as the UAE achieved 82.5 points out of a total of 100 points in this edition of the Index, compared to 29 points in the 2019 edition and 56 points in the 2020 edition.

The UAE also achieved a full score of 100 points in five of the report’s indicators: Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Entrepreneurship, and Pension. The UAE was ranked first across the Arab world in in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report for the year 2021.

The UAE also ranked first globally in four of this report’s sub-indicators: women in parliament; sex ratio at birth; literacy rate; and enrolment in primary education. —

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