UAE minister issues global call for greater representation of women in govt, politics

In the UAE, percentage of women in parliament increased from 22 to 50 per cent, Ohood Al Roumi said



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A Staff Reporter

Published: Mon 28 Mar 2022, 8:48 PM

Women are essential to shaping a better future for all, Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Government Development and the Future and Vice-Chair of the World Government Summit Organisation.

Al Roumi delivered the opening address on Monday at the Women in Government Forum, part of the World Government Summit (WGS), at Expo 2020 Dubai. The keynote was titled ‘Women in Government: Shaping a Better Future for the World.’

“We simply cannot have a conversation about shaping a better future for the world without placing women at its centre,” Al Roumi said. “We are not here to advocate for women because they are women, but because of their effective contribution to a better and balanced future. It is not a gender discourse, it is a public value imperative.”

Al Roumi highlighted the lack of gender parity in government globally, saying that: “Worldwide, women are underrepresented in government, politics, and public life. The currency of progress is simply not enough, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, stated that it will take 145.5 years to attain gender parity in politics”

The Index covered around 35,500 parliament seats across 156 countries, only 26.1 per cent are held by women. Similarly, women remain underrepresented in ministerial positions at just 22.6 per cent of all ministers worldwide. While women comprise 50% of public administrators, just 31 per cent hold top leadership positions. More countries are now beginning to make strides in advancing the role of women in the public sphere.

Al Roumi shared how the UAE is a leading country in gender equality, adding that: “In the UAE, the percentage of female members of parliament has increased from 22 per cent to 50 per cent. Women ministers represent 27.5 per cent of the cabinet with portfolios such as climate change, advanced technology, education, community development, culture, and international cooperation.”

Incentives and new programmes required

The UAE’s success in enhancing the role of women in government stems from its wise leadership, she said, but also from creating programmes that encourage young women to step up to future challenges.

Al Roumi herself began her career in the private sector with no intention of joining the government, Her Excellency added. However, an opportunity to enrol in a programme for future generations of leaders changed the trajectory of her career.

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Al Roumi concluded by calling on delegates leverage the Women in Government Forum as a platform to support the next generation of women leaders. Adding that delegates could make a collective pledge to nurture 10 young women in public leadership as they navigate their journey.

“We are here to amplify the impact of women in government and set forth a clear global call for more women to join public service, more women in senior government leadership, and more collaborative efforts between men and women for diversity, inclusion, and public value. Nothing should stop the progress of women. They have equal rights as men in assuming top positions that benefit their abilities and qualifications," Al Roumi said.


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