Sheikh Mohammed reaffirms UAE’s focus on gender equality

The UAE set up the Gender Balance Council earlier this year to empower women in the country



The UAE will “spare no effort” to create a supportive environment for women in the country, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, VP and PM and Dubai’s ruler has reaffirmed.

The country established the Gender Balance Council in February this year to encourage and empower UAE women.

“Emirati women have proved their competence in all fields and we are proud of every achievement they made, and thus, we are committed to support them till they achieve the highest degrees of excellence and accomplish further achievements in line with our ambitious development vision,” official news agency WAM quoted him as saying.

Sheikh Mohammed’s statement came while attending the UAE Gender Balance Council’s first meeting, chaired by its president Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

During the meeting, Sheikha Manal announced the launch of a new Gender Balance Index in government entities.

The index will measure the performance of government entities in achieving balance through indices such as development of policies in support of women; application of these policies optimally and ensuring equal opportunities between men and women in leadership positions and decision-making positions.

Sheikha Manal also confirmed that the Council will act as a federal entity to offer both men and women equal opportunities.

“Current legislations, policies and programmes must be revised or updated, and new ones must be developed to achieve gender balance in the workplace, as we currently need to develop legislations and policies that suit the major changes in the state, and fulfill our ambition to turn the UAE into a model in gender balance,” WAM quoted her as saying.

“In addition, the implementation of decisions and laws in gender balance must undergo a follow-up process, as some of them are not applied or are inaccurately applied in a way that diminishes the achievement of desired goals,” she added.

Regional governments have been taking several steps in recent years to mitigate gender imbalance and include women in economic development.

However, a recent survey by NGO Pearl Initiative found that around 75 per cent of working women in the GCC still feel they are not treated equally in their workplaces. About 80 per cent of working women in the region feel they are disadvantaged at work for simply being a woman, it stated.

The study, which polled more than 600 businesswomen, also noted that the number of women moving to senior executive and board levels within organisations in the GCC remains low.