Gender balance is about equal opportunity, pay

When such a balance is struck, communities progress - together - and every individual grows into a stakeholder.

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Published: Tue 19 Sep 2017, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 19 Sep 2017, 10:03 PM

Women's empowerment is an important part of the UAE's 2021 national strategy. Economic development will stall if women do not play an active role in all sectors. The government has been active in this regard and established a Gender Balance Council two years ago. The council is working with the private and public sectors, women's groups and NGOs to get more women into the workforce and government bodies. The leadership has shown the way by appointing eight women ministers in the cabinet. The Federal National Council, the highest legislative body, has 20 per cent women. Even the speaker of the council is a woman. These are landmark achievements in the social and political spheres, but this is no time to rest on laurels, nor is it about numbers. Gender balance would be ineffective without striking the right social balance. When such a balance is struck, communities progress - together - and every individual grows into a stakeholder.
Simply put, it is about equal opportunity. And for women to get those chances in their lives and careers, they must be first encouraged to get there. Let's say it is about building confidence. For the record, women constitute 66 per cent of government workers, 30 per cent of them being in leadership roles. Overall, women make up 46.6 per cent of the labour force. It has often been said that the country wants to be among the top 25 nations in empowering women. Tuesday's release of the Gender Balance Guide will help channelise the country's efforts towards women's welfare, and would be handy for organisations and individuals. The UAE is serious and committed about women's rights. Maternity leave has been increased in the public sector to 90 days for them, but the challenge is to introduce these reforms and implement them in private companies. A little push from the government would help on issues like equal pay and maternity benefits.



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