Gender Balance Council discusses national initiatives

Council members discuss the impact of new legislations on the UAE’s competitiveness in gender balance rankings

Dubai: The UAE Gender Balance Council has discussed the impact of new legislations on the UAE’s competitiveness in gender balance rankings.

Chaired by Mona Al Merri, vice-president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, the second meeting for 2018 held at the Prime Minister’s Office looked at enforcing the UAE’s constitution in terms of equal rights and opportunities, and assessed the progress made towards implementing the three national initiatives launched by the UAE government during its annual meetings in September 2017. These include creating a social gender databank, proposing a series of gender balance legislations, and implementing the 20X21 project.

Current gender balance legislations were reviewed to identify strengths and weaknesses and to provide recommendations to fill any gaps, which were sent to the relevant entities for assessment. As a result of these efforts, the UAE Cabinet approved a law in April 2018 to ensure equal gender pay. This law is the first of its kind in the region and the second in the world.

Meanwhile, Shaikha Manal Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and wife of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, praised the wise leadership’s efforts to support Emirati women. She commended the UAE leadership’s determination to provide Emirati women with all of the tools required for them to contribute to the nation’s continued development and achievements. Shaikha Manal also praised the UAE Cabinet’s approval on the decision to restructure the UAE Gender Balance Council.

She also highlighted the importance of enhanced cooperation among local and federal entities in endorsing continuous growth and supporting the achievement of the nation’s goals, which is the reason behind the establishment of the Council three years ago. The Council was founded to narrow the gender gap across all sectors, enhance gender balance in decision-making positions and support the UAE’s vision to become one of the world’s leading countries in gender balance.

Ministry of Finance representation

Shaikha Manal praised the Ministry of Finance’s efforts in supporting the Council and incorporating gender balance principles in its overall strategy. Shaikha Manal said that the Council intends to implement a number of initiatives and projects as part of its strategic plan in order to fulfil its objectives.

National initiatives

The social gender databank, which will feature all data issued by federal authorities according to gender, is currently 75 per cent complete. The 20 × 21 initiative, which aims to increase the representation of women on boards of directors to 20 per cent in both the public and private sectors by 2021, is 64 per cent complete. Currently, female representation stands at 17 per cent across government entities on a federal level, and at 3.5 per cent across UAE listed public joint stock companies.

Al Merri said that the UAE Gender Balance Council will be developing a guide for women nominated to the board of directors of public joint stock companies after it has created a database of female leaders qualified for membership. These will be shared with financial markets. She added that this guide, which will be launched in collaboration with the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), will ensure that the nomination and selection process is in line with UAE governance standards.

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