UAE setting a great example for gender balance

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UAE setting a great example for gender balance
Sheikha Fatima said it is crucial to unleash the potential of women as a crucial partner in the building of societies.

Abu Dhabi - The UAE is not only ranked first in the GCC in gender equality, but it is also the first country in the Arab world to introduce a mandatory law for the representation of women in government and private boardrooms.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

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Published: Fri 22 Dec 2017, 8:15 PM

Last updated: Fri 22 Dec 2017, 10:19 PM

The UAE is setting up an example for a nation that acknowledges the importance of investing in women to maximise their full potential for the country's development, and more countries should step-up to ensure gender balance, urged officials in Abu Dhabi.
In a statement released ahead of the 'Gender Dimensions of International Peace and Security: Keys to Prosperity and Peace' forum this week, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, chairwoman of the General Women's Union, supreme chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and president of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, said both men and women have important roles to play in life.
"Gender balance has been achieved in all areas based on the wise leadership's belief that the daughter of the UAE is a partner to its sons, in the process of developing the nation."
Sheikha Fatima said it is crucial to unleash the potential of women as a crucial partner in the building of societies.
Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, the UAE's permanent representative to the UN, said that the involvement of women in peace and security is a key component that will help stabilise societies across the world. She said the gaps between men and women on economic and political participation remain wide, despite 96 per cent of 144 countries in the report have closed the "gap" in health outcomes between men and women, and more than 95 per cent of the gap in educational attainment.
"The 2017 Global Gender Gap report reveals that for the first time since the World Economic Forum records began in 2006, the global gender gap is in fact widening." 
She said only 58 per cent of the economic gap has been closed, and a shocking 23 per cent of the political gap is closed. 
Jennifer Wittwer, policy specialist and military liaison officer at UN Women said women around the world still feel reluctant to join careers due to the society's perception. "We encounter negative social and cultural norms about women seeking to work in this field. Women are not even often aware that these opportunities exist because the advertisement is limited," she added.
She said social barriers must thus be addressed, which is why the forum is a crucial one. "The average number of women in NATO is 10 per cent. So how can we send women in peace-keeping, if we don't even have women?" she asked. 
"We must tackle these numbers - it's not just about increasing the numbers, we need to make sure we are deploying the right women who can influence the gender aspect." 
Mona Al Marri, vice-president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, stressed that women have the right to participate in all spheres, whether it is social or political. "It is critical for their empowerment, which in turn is vital for sustainable development and peace." 
She said the UAE sets a great example of a country that empowers women, adding that the UAE is not only ranked first in the GCC in gender equality, but it is also the first country in the Arab world to introduce a mandatory law for the representation of women in government and private boardrooms. 
Moreover, the UAE women now represent 30 per cent of the cabinet, while seven members in the Federal National Council (FNC) are women. The chair speaker of the FNC is held by an inspirational woman, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, and 60 per cent of those in the government sector are women, which is among the highest in the world. 
jasmine@khaleejtimes.com
 



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