How the UAE is planning to close the gender gap in the workplace

The Gender Balance Council reveals it is focusing on “gender responsive budgeting”.

It’s no secret that the UAE is on a big push for gender equality over the next few years.

In fact, the Emirates hopes to become one of world’s top 25 countries for gender equality by 2021.

In recent times, the nation has seen the introduction of a gender balance guide for companies, improved maternity leave for government workers, and the formation of a Gender Balance Council.

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And the latter has been in the US this week, revealing some of its achievements and hopes for the future as part of an International Monetary Fund-hosted Global Gender Circle session.

HH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, and HE Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, highlighted some of the UAE’s strides forward while discussing how to further close the gender gap.

Currently, women in the UAE represent 46.6 per cent of the workforce and 66 per cent of public sector workers, the pair revealed, adding that 30 per cent of the latter are in leadership roles.

The UAE was also the first country in the Arab region to require a mandatory female presence in boardrooms in 2012, Al Marri added, plus 10 per cent of private sector firms in the country are run by women.

gender balance council

However there is more to be done, Global Gender Circle attendees acknowledged, with the 15 delegates exchanging ideas throughout the session.

“[This initiative] fosters dialogue regarding the best international gender policies and practices, supporting the goals set out by HHs Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, to the UAE Gender Balance Council at the time of its establishment,” said HH Sheikha Manal.

“These objectives include narrowing the gender gap across all sectors, as well as establishing the UAE as one of the top countries for gender balance, and as a global leader in gender balance legislation.”

The UAE council—which launched the Global Gender Circle earlier this year—is currently working towards the implementation of gender responsive budgeting on a federal level, Al Marri revealed.

It hopes to “address existing gender disparities, including senior management representation in both the public and private sectors, and women’s participation in parliament and across science, technology, engineering and mathematics”, according to Dubai Media Office.

gender balance generic

How exactly that disparity will be dealt with hasn’t yet been revealed, but the session gave members “a platform to explore successful global case studies and gain insights to help us establish the UAE as a role model for gender balance,” Al Marri said.

The UAE Gender Balance Council was launched in 2015 by HH Sheikh Mohammed to help achieve gender balance in decision-making roles, and position the Emirates as a role model in gender balance.

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The council is responsible for making recommendations on regulations, policies, programmes and initiatives (such as helping extend maternity leave).

And we’re excited to see what plans it has in store for 2018…

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Images: Dubai Media Office, Getty

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