Leaders’ vision for empowerment of women has made UAE a leader in gender balance, expert says

DUBAI: The UAE has become a global leader in gender balance because of the confidence the country’s leaders have shown in the abilities and potential of women, delegates at the eighth Dubai International Project Management Forum heard on Wednesday.
Mona Ghanem Al-Marri, vice president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, told the forum that the leadership’s vision for the empowerment of women ensures that they are considered equal participants and major contributors to sustainable development efforts in the nation.
The four-day forum, which concludes on Thursday, is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, the Emirates News Agency reported.
Al-Marri said the rapid progress the UAE has achieved in terms of gender balance is demonstrated by the fact that the country ranked best in the Arab world, and 11th globally, on the Gender Inequality Index of the UN Development Program’s Human Development Report 2022.
The country has jumped 38 positions on the GII since the nation’s Gender Balance Council was established seven years ago. The UAE also ranked first, for a second consecutive year, in both the World Bank’s 2022 Women, Business and the Law report, and the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Gender Gap Report, she added.
Last year, Al-Marri said, the private sector in the UAE further strengthened its involvement in initiatives designed to accelerate the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, which aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”
A total of 56 local and international companies operating in the country have joined a national initiative to increase the percentage of senior leadership positions filled by women to 30 percent by 2025. Some companies have already increased the percentage of senior women leaders in their organizations to 27 percent, Al-Marri noted.
She said that by demonstrating their capabilities in a variety of fields, women have gained the confidence of the UAE leadership; they now fill 27.5 percent of UAE cabinet posts, 50 percent of positions on the UAE Federal National Council, and hold key positions in the diplomatic corps.
“UAE women have made substantial contributions in various sectors and play vital leadership roles in accelerating the growth and sustainable development of the nation,” Al-Marri said.
The work of the UAE Gender Balance Council has been instrumental in improving the country’s rankings in global gender balance reports and indices, she added.
Al-Marri also highlighted the remarkable efforts of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al-Ketbi, chairperson of the General Women’s Union, to promote women’s development. She said the “mother of the nation” has worked tirelessly to ensure that women become equal partners in the development of the UAE.
She commended the Dubai International Project Management Forum for including topics related to gender balance on the agenda for the event, and said the media has a vital role to play as a partner in conveying an accurate picture of the UAE’s gender balance achievements.


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