It’s another win for the UAE’s Gender Balance Council…

A high-level United Nations panel on female empowerment will take place next month in Dubai, with a wealth of experts jetting into the city to attend.

The event, which will be hosted by the UAE Gender Balance Council, was set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to place “women’s economic empowerment at the top of the global agenda”, according to Dubai Media Office.

The two-day panel will be held on February 6 and 7, and will bring together government representatives and leaders in business, education and civil society.

It will look at amping up progress towards the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a plan that seeks gender equality and women’s economic empowerment along with poverty eradication.

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Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed, president of the council and wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, said the event highlighted the UAE’s commitment to supporting women.

“Our country has been pioneering in investing in women’s economic empowerment, which matches the objectives of the panel, in term of increasing women participation in the economy and empower them in holding key position in the domains of sustainable development,” she said.

“This stems from the conviction of our wise leadership in the ability of woman to effectively contribute and support the country’s development within conducive environment that ensure full economic gender equality, and governed by laws that also encourage competitiveness to achieve the highest level of economic performance.”

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The panel will be chaired by Luis Guillermo Solis, President of Costa Rica, and Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO of IKEA Switzerland

It was not confirmed if Emirati ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, the 2017 president of the UN-Women Executive Board, will be in attendance.

How does the UAE currently stand on gender equality?

In this 2016 Global Gender Gap Report, the UAE came 83 out of 144 countries with regards to the political empowerment of women.

When it came to economic participation and opportunities, the Emirates came in 130th place.

(It’s not all bad though – while no Middle Eastern county has fully closed its gender gap in education and health, the UAE came “close” in the latter, the report stated. It also drew attention to how we’ve seen improvement on women parliamentarians).

So what is being done about it?

Well, luckily the Dubai Women Establishment’s five-year development strategy for 2017-2021 has a focus on getting more females noticed in the workforce.

Key parts of the plan will work on promoting the skills of Emirati women, as well as enhancing their capabilities within the UAE.

The DWE plan to make more progress on integrating women into the UAE’s developmental process, as well as enhancing their status and leadership.

Vice-President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, Her Excellency Mona Al Marri, has previously said that “the country’s government believes in the power of women and the role that they can play in society”.

“Our visionary leadership that supports women 100 per cent believes that for a society to be productive, it has to utilise the talents and capabilities of women who represent around half of the UAE population.”

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Image: Dubai Media Office