UAE launches Gender Balance Centre for Excellence, pledges to accelerate equality in leadership

The country already has one of the highest female labour force participation rates in the Mena region, reaching 58 per cent in 2019


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Tue 27 Sep 2022, 4:13 PM

Last updated: Tue 27 Sep 2022, 4:26 PM

In a first of its kind initiative, the UAE Gender Balance Centre for Excellence has been launched in Dubai on Tuesday.

The centre, launched in partnership with the UAE Gender Balance Council and the World Bank, will reflect upon a new gender balance strategy which promises to focus on the future and on transforming challenges into opportunities.

In line with its aim to fulfill Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Gender Equality), representatives of the UAE’s private sector also pledged to accelerate gender balance in leadership.

Mona Al Marri, Vice President, UAE Gender Balance Council, says, “The aim of the centre is to be a hub for knowledge exchange between countries in our region. It also aims to support everyone in implementing measurable reforms and initiatives that would streamline gender balance.

There are three key objectives of the centre. Firstly, we want to share the UAE’s gender balance knowledge. The second objective is to find and build solutions for gender balance in the area by facilitating the exchanging of ideas and initiatives across all countries in the region.

Finally, the third aim is to streamline the 'woman's economy'.”

Al Marri also highlighted how the initiative reflects a unique partnership between the public and private sectors to achieve the goals and future vision of the country’s leadership.

“Without the partners from the private sector this would be very hard to achieve", she adds.

"I am so happy that many of you with us here today are committed to the SDG Goal 5 pledge to accelerate woman’s leadership and the private sector in the UAE.

We all know that we live in a very dynamic place in this region; the UAE is full of possibilities. The leadership of the country believes in the power of partnership, and I'm very pleased that the World Bank is collaborating with the Gender Balance Council on this to unlock more opportunities."

Issam Abousleiman, Regional Director GCC Countries, World Bank underlined that the private sector must be a key partner in boosting the UAE’s global competitiveness in gender balance.

As per the WBL (Women, Business and the Law) study, the role of women in the UAE economy has been steadily increasing over time, with female labour force participation following an upward trajectory since the 1990s.

It reportedly reached 58 per cent in 2019, with the country already having one of the highest female labour force participation rates in the Mena region, comparing favourably to the regional average of 20 per cent.

Abousleiman noted: “Today we are signing a technical cooperation agreement with the UAE Gender Balance Council, and this is not just an important event, but the beginning of the rest of the world.

When we talk about ethnicity and gender balance and making sure that everybody is treated equally under the law in companies and in the workplace… it's really ‘smart economics' at the end of the day.

This is what can make a huge difference for the rest of us. And that's basically what the story of the Centre of Excellence is all about. The UAE has had a huge track record of introducing reforms in different things.

I am glad to see that the country has created an ecosystem to incentivise and protect women on the job and to continuously help women to enter into the economic arena.”


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