UAE VP and PM and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has established a new council in an effort to bridge the gender gap in the UAE, state news agency WAM reported.
The new body aims to boost the UAE’s efforts to improve women’s role in the country and the economy.
The council will be chaired by Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Women Establishment.
“I am happy to be part of this discussion. We, in the UAE, are keen to enable woman and put her in the right position. What we had discussed in this session will not end here,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
The council’s chairperson Sheikha Manal said that the work on drafting the council’s strategies, policies and frameworks will begin immediately.
“The impact of a significant female presence in leadership roles has wide-ranging benefits on the economy, on governance, and on society at large,” she said.
“The UAE has always worked to dismantle barriers that create tension between the genders. We have a great opportunity to uncover new paths that we may walk on together.”
The Gulf country has taken a number of measures over the years to increase women’s participation in the workforce and the economy.
In 2012, Sheikh Mohammed issued a law mandating all government agencies and companies to have female presence on their boards, becoming the first Gulf Arab country to introduce such legislation.
Recently UAE’s Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said that the government is looking to introduce more regulations in an effort to help women succeed in business.
“We are specifically looking to see if something can be done to increase the participation of females on boards in public share holding companies, like women members on corporate boards of federal agencies,” he told Gulf Business at the sidelines of an event in December.
Presently, women account for 16 per cent of the workforce in UAE government departments while 70 per cent of country’s college graduates are females, Al Mansouri noted.