A statement from the UAE Gender Balance Council on the recent media coverage regarding the Gender Balance Awards

The UAE is known for its unwavering commitment to embedding a steadfast culture of gender balance across the region. This commitment has long since been translated into legislation and applied through the implementation of federal initiatives that ensure both women and men are recognized and included as equal counterparts with integral roles to play in the country’s progression and development.
 
In line with the federal government’s belief in the importance of gender balance, the UAE Gender Balance Council was created under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who serves as its President. Since its creation, the Council’s efforts have steadily and surely enhanced gender balance across the nation.

Among the Council’s most notable efforts is the Gender Balance Index. The main aim of the Index is to support leaders and federal entities in establishing gender balance as a pillar on which their institutions are founded on. The Index is derived from the highest national and global benchmarks, including the UAE Cabinet’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) ‘Gender Inequality Index’. The Index comprises of three categories, and the recipients of the Index’s awards represent the collective gender balance efforts of the federal entities they represent.

The first category recognizes the ‘Best Personality Supporting Gender Balance’, referring to individuals who have played a key role in their institutions to achieve gender balance, and whose efforts provide both a supportive work environment and equal opportunities for women and men.
The second category, the ‘Best Federal Authority Supporting Gender Balance’, recognizes federal authorities that champion gender balance; ensuring that women have the same opportunities to occupy decision-making and leadership positions, have equal access to specialized fields, and are offered a supportive working environment.

The Index’s third category, the ‘Best Gender Balance Initiative’, recognizes the best gender balance policy, legislation, or practice that has efficiently enhanced gender balance in government entities.

During the Index’s second edition, the Index recognized entities – as opposed to individuals – for their collective gender-balance efforts. This is indicative of the great and extraordinary progress we have made as a nation, where men in the UAE are proactively working alongside women to champion gender balance as a national priority.

This year’s Index recognized significant gender balance efforts, such as raising the participation of women in the police force to become the highest in the Arab world, and the implementation of the ‘Remote Employment’ initiative which increased the employment opportunities for women in the Northern Emirates and remote areas where fewer jobs are available. The Index’s awards were received by men on behalf of the governmental entities they represent. 

It is noteworthy to point out at this juncture that winners of the Index’s first edition in 2017 included Her Excellency Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Chairwoman of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA), who received the ‘UAE Gender Balance Seal’.

It is also imperative to highlight the extraordinary achievements women have made in the UAE across various fields – achievements that were made due to their vision, talent, and hard work, and with the support of their male counterparts and a federal government that believes in women’s equal and valuable contribution to the development of the nation. This stems from the knowledge that the collective goal of fostering gender balance can only be achieved with the resolute support of every member of society.
 
This form of support is evident in the UAE through the issuance of laws such as the Law on Equal Wages and Salaries for Men and Women and Presidential directives to increase women’s representation in the 2019 parliamentary elections to 50%. Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, the President of the Federal National Council (FNC), is the first woman in the Arab world to be elected as speaker of a national council. The support women receive is also illustrated through decrees such as those stipulating the mandatory presence of women on boards of directors, and initiatives that work towards fostering supportive working environments to increase their participation in the workforce. 

Today, women in the UAE make up 66% of public sector workers, with 30% in leadership roles. They comprise 56% of the UAE’s graduates in STEM courses at government universities, and make up 70% of all university graduates in the UAE. The UAE has 9 female ministers, making up 29% of ministerial roles, the highest in the region, and constitute 20% of the diplomatic corps.

Women in the UAE are leaders, ministers, parliamentarians, educators, firefighters, scientists and entrepreneurs. They are empowered, valued, and included, and they will continue to be driving forces alongside their male counterparts to further establish the UAE as a global role model for gender balance.

For more details about UAE Gender Balance Council please click here
UAE Women Facts please click here

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