UAE Gender Balance

Mohammed bin Rashid assigns the UAE Gender Balance Council to oversee the implementation of the ‘Gender Inequality Index’

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has assigned the UAE Gender Balance Council to support the implementation of the ‘Gender Inequality Index’, which is issued annually by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

In line with the UAE Vision 2021, the Index is designed to enhance the country’s efforts in driving women’s participation in national development. His Highness also instructed the Council to oversee the Index and the implementation of best practices and processes to ensure federal institutions achieve their gender balance targets, which will support the UAE’s vision to become one of the world’s top 25 countries for gender equality by 2021.

HH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) and wife of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs expressed her gratitude and happiness at the trust that HH Sheikh Mohammed has bestowed on the Council.

HH Sheikha Manal praised HH Sheikh Mohammed for the continuous support extended by him for women’s development in the UAE, which reflects the leadership’s commitment to enhancing the role and contribution of women in building the nation’s future.

HH Sheikha Manal is also confident that the ‘Gender Inequality Index’ will play an important role in driving further progress in the field of gender balance and contribute to the development of society. HH highlighted that the Council will implement a clear framework to consolidate the efforts of various government entities and further raise the UAE’s international rank in gender equality.

Frameworks for Promoting Greater Gender Balance Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, who chaired the second board meeting on behalf of HH Sheikha Manal, said that the implementation of the ‘Gender Inequality Index’ will have a significant impact on promoting gender balance in the coming years. She stressed that the Index is an example of the UAE’s efforts to create frameworks that support women’s development, and provide a favourable environment for women to work and secure their future, as well as the future of their family, community and nation.

Mona Al Marri said that in line with the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Gender Balance Council will immediately launch three initiatives that will support the efforts of individuals and organisations to enhance gender balance in the UAE. The first initiative includes documenting the efforts of supporting bodies through the "UAE Gender Balance Seal"; the second involves the implementation of the "UAE Gender Balance Order"; and the third is the establishment of "Best Three UAE Gender Balance Initiatives Award".

Mona Al Marri said that the guidance of HH Sheikh Mohammed has always been a source of inspiration for the Council. She praised the Council members for their efforts in achieving key strategic objectives as well as enhancing the role and participation of Emirati women in the continued development of the country’s society and economy to the levels aspired for by the UAE’s leadership.

A number of performance indicators will be used to measure gender equality across government departments and entities, in order to strengthen gender balance in all public sector institutions. The indicators will also measure the extent to which government entities in the UAE are providing a friendly and supportive environment for working mothers, through a survey conducted by a neutral party. These indicators will be implemented through a comprehensive work plan and activated at a federal level.

During the meeting, Mona Al Marri expressed her appreciation for the continued efforts of the members of the UAE Gender Balance Council since its inception and their commitment to the outcomes and objectives established during the first meeting. Highlighting a number of positive indicators and successes achieved since the Council’s first meeting, Mona Al Marri said: "The recent Federal National Council elections witnessed an increase in female representation from 17.5% to 22.5%; the appointment of a woman as the President of the Council for the first time in the history of the UAE and the Arab world; and an increase in female representation in the new cabinet to 27.5%, all of which reflect our leadership’s confidence in the ability of women to contribute to national development and their sincere desire to promote women’s role in decision-making."

Mona Al Marri also commended the Council’s efforts to launch a number of initiatives to promote women’s participation in the election process during the preparation period for the last parliamentary elections, in cooperation with the National Election Committee. She highlighted the need for strategies to foster an electoral culture amongst women in preparation for the next elections.

In regards to the UAE’s ranking in international reports on gender balance and equality, Mona Al Marri added: "In 2015, the UAE ranked 19th in the Global Gender Gap Report issued by the World Economic Forum, and 1st in the GCC and 2nd in the Arab world in the Gender Inequality Index of the Human Development Report, which means that all of us have a huge responsibility to harness our efforts to enhance women’s participation across all sectors, which will further raise the UAE’s ranking in international gender balance reports."

The meeting was attended by the members of the UAE Gender Balance Council including: Dr. Abdul Rahim Yousef Al Awadi, Assistant Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs; Abdullah Nasser Lootah, Director-General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority; Nasser Al-Hamli, Assistant Under-Secretary of Government Coordination Sector at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs; Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade and Industry Affairs; Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Awar, Director General of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources; Huda Al Hashimi, Assistant to the Director-General for Strategy and Innovation; Naji Al Hai, Acting Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Community Development; and Reem Al Falasi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.

The UAE Gender Balance Council was established to reduce the gender gap across all government sectors in the country; enhance the UAE’s ranking in global reports on gender equality; and promote gender balance in decision-making positions. The Council also aims to launch innovative initiatives and projects that contribute to greater gender balance, which will position the UAE as a model for gender balance and a benchmark for legislation.