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UAE exchanges, financial centres partner with Aurora50 to drive gender diversity

UAE exchanges, financial centres partner with Aurora50 to drive gender diversity

Aurora50 is initiating the discussion around board-level gender diversity with a virtual event

The UAE’s financial centres and exchanges – Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Nasdaq Dubai have partnered with social enterprise Aurora50 to enhance female representation on UAE boards.

As global economies restart in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects – and in particular diversity and inclusion, are coming under heightened investor scrutiny. Board-level diversity is linked with better governance and financial performance, and can also contribute towards greater national competitiveness.

Aurora50 is initiating the discussion around board-level gender diversity with a virtual event – The Board Summit – that brings together board chairs, directors and business figures.

Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, co-founder of Aurora50, said: “Collaboration and innovation within our financial sector has contributed significantly to the UAE’s position as a globally competitive market. Greater diversity will only serve to reinforce our standing.”

“The collective effort of our supporters has already begun to move the needle by demonstrating that female representation at board-level directly correlates to higher business performance. I am confident that, with our newest partners on board, we will be able to increase momentum and impact change. It is through such partnerships that we are able to grow our ecosystem and shape the future of women on boards,” she added.

Aurora50’s initiative ‘20 for 2020’ is making efforts to develop a pipeline of competent, board-ready women and match them with relevant board positions. Accordingly, financial centres and exchanges will be recognised as founding knowledge partners of the ‘20 for 2020’ initiative, and commit to promoting it through relevant networks and channels.

The partners will also develop and deliver board specific workshops, such as finance essentials for directors, for the inaugural participants.

Khalifa Al Mansouri, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, said: “ADX is committed to advancing women in high-ranking leadership roles and continues to engage with listed companies about raising awareness on the value of gender equality in corporate roles. Through our partnership with Aurora50, we intend to actively participate and support the ‘20 for 2020’ board level training programs, workshops and events. We are fully convinced of the positive impact that more gender-diverse leadership will have on corporate performance and economic growth.”

“DIFC has championed gender diversity and inclusivity since establishing operations 16 years ago. During this time, we have built a reputation for accelerating women into senior positions. DIFC’s three independent bodies continue to have strong female reputation in their management teams. To stay ahead, there is more we can do with the industry and other partners. Over 60 per cent of DIFC Authority staff and 33 per cent of people working in the region’s largest financial centre ecosystem are female, meaning the pipeline for board positions is tremendous,” noted Arif Amiri, CEO, Dubai International Financial Centre.

Hassan Al Serkal, CEO, Dubai Financial Market (DFM), said: “The DFM has been accelerating its sustainability and governance efforts to strengthen board diversity and inclusion in capital markets in collaboration with various institutions in the UAE and beyond. Accordingly, we are pleased to join forces with Aurora50, ‘20 for 2020’ initiative to qualify proficient women for board directorship. The DFM has launched numerous initiatives such as the eBoard Platform, connecting listed companies with Emirati talent which has significantly helped to boost female board representation to one third of DFM-listed companies.”

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