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UAE one spot shy of its 2021 gender goal

Filed on December 10, 2019 | Last updated on December 10, 2019 at 06.59 am

(Alamy)

The UAE is one spot away from achieving its goal of becoming one of the world's top 25 countries on the Index by 2021.

The UAE jumped 23 positions on UNDP Gender Inequality Index 2019 to occupy the 26th position globally. The country was also ranked first in the Arab World in the latest rankings.

The UAE is one spot away from achieving its goal of becoming one of the world's top 25 countries on the Index by 2021. The latest achievement was accomplished merely four years after the establishment of the UAE Gender Balance Council. In 2015, the UAE was ranked 49th globally in the report.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, directed the establishment of the council as the first federal entity with the mandate of developing and implementing the gender balance agenda in the UAE.

The council's objective was defined by Sheikh Mohammed as enhancing the UAE's ranking in global competitiveness reports on gender equality and becoming one of the top 25 countries by 2021.

President of the UAE Gender Balance Council Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the progress in rankings, achieved in such a short time, is the result of the support of the UAE leadership. Supporting gender balance goals has been a national priority since the founding of the UAE by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

She said the leadership has launched many initiatives and programmes to reduce the gender gap in all economic and social sectors and introduced legislations and policies to support these efforts.

Sheikha Manal said the leadership's initiatives have included the directives issued by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to increase women's representation in the Federal National Council to 50 per cent; the introduction of several policies by the UAE Cabinet to support women and promote gender balance; and assigning the UAE Gender Balance Council to implement these initiatives in collaboration with concerned entities in the UAE.

Sheikha Manal said: "We will work hard to exceed our national target for 2021. Our leadership inspires us to launch new initiatives that will help us continue achieving successes in this field."

She said the UAE's exceptional progress in the UNDP Gender Inequality Index rankings has been made possible by the collaboration between government entities to reduce gaps and link the Index's Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to the objectives of the UAE Gender Balance Council.

Sheikha Manal praised the Council's fruitful collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is part of the Council's strategy of promoting collaboration and partnership with leading countries, organisations and international societies that have achieved significant success in promoting gender balance.

She also referred to the UAE Gender Balance Index, which was developed in accordance with UNDP criteria and international best practices. Following successful implementation at both local and federal levels, the Index was implemented in the banking and financial sector this year, she said. Sheikha Manal further said that these efforts will help achieve UAE Centennial 2017 objectives and the leadership's vision to make the UAE the world's best country in all sectors.

The UNDP Gender Inequality Index 2019, issued annually by the UNDP, measures gender inequalities in three important aspects of human development: health, empowerment and labour.

The Index ranks countries using five indicators, including maternal mortality ratio, adolescent birth rate, proportion of parliamentary seats occupied by females, proportion of adult females and males aged 25 years and older with at least some secondary education, and labour force participation rate of female and male populations aged 15 years and older.

Mona Al Marri, vice-president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, expressed pride in the achievement and said that it reflects the collaboration between different entities in the UAE. She stressed that the Council will continue to work to enhance the UAE's ranking globally through a series of gender balance legislations and a series of new initiatives.

The Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council also said that since the inception of the Council, it has worked on identifying, studying and assessing gender balance legislations to identify strengths and weaknesses. It has also proposed new initiatives to federal entities, using the UNDP Gender Balance Index's criteria as a reference, and taking into consideration best practices in this domain. The Council also launched a series of projects and initiatives to promote gender balance and embed it into corporate culture.

The Council also launched 'The Gender Balance Guide: Actions for UAE Organisations', which is adopted by private and public organisations as a tool to advance gender balance in the workplace.

The Guide, which was developed by the UAE Gender Balance Council in coordination with the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is the first of its kind in the world. The Guide is aligned with the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, and the UAE Vision 2021 goal of becoming one of the top 25 countries for gender equality.

The Council also collaborated with the Prime Minister's Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future to launch the UAE Gender Balance Index, and the 'Global Gender Circle' initiative to reduce the gender gap in women's economic contribution. It also recommended innovative initiatives to support the global gender agenda and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5.

Director-General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) Abdulla Nasser Lootah, said: "We are proud of the significant progress the UAE has made in the Gender Inequality Index rankings, which reflects the efforts of local and federal partners of FCSA, mainly the Ministry of Health and Prevention and local statistics centres, to provide accurate data and statistics in accordance with UN standards. The objective of the team is to support the UAE's efforts to achieve top ranking in all global indices, and to become the best country in the world by 2071."

Staff Reporter


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