Dubai: UAE is setting a precedent in gender balance and women’s empowerment at the workplace as women now account for more than 66 per cent of jobs in the public sector workforce, said a senior official.
Women in the UAE occupy key decision-making positions, said according to Dr Shamsa Saleh, CEO of the Dubai Women Establishment and General Coordinator of the UAE Gender Balance Council.
Addressing a session of an international women’s forum in Deauville, France, Shamsa made important revelations about the current status of gender balance, which is tipped in the favour of women.
She said: “Emirati women began entering the workforce over 30 years ago, going from 3.4 per cent in 1975, to 11.7 per cent in 1995. Today, we hold 66 per cent of all public sector jobs and 30 per cent of all decision-making positions within the government sector.
"Emirati women also represent 71 per cent of all graduates and we have more than 1,500 Emirati women in Dubai Police — 93 of whom hold leadership positions.”
Shamsa was speaking at the 11th Women’s Forum Global Meeting, which will conclude on Friday.
Her session titled "UAE Gender Balance Council: A new reference point" focussed on the importance of her country’s effort to change the dynamics of the workplace that in turn had a greater cumulative impact on society.
She said: “I am an Arab woman, but I am also a mother, a wife, a daughter and a very proud sister. Equally so, I am the CEO of DWE and General Coordinator of the UAE Gender Balance Council.
Work and family
"As an Arab woman, I am a mother and a CEO, not a mother or CEO. In the UAE, we strive to find gender balance, which will allow every Arab woman to not feel obliged to sacrifice their family life in order to succeed in the workplace. In other words, work and family must go hand-in-hand.”
Providing a series of impressive statistics on the current state of gender balance in the UAE, Shamsa’s statements were enlightening and reflective of the egalitarian values of the UAE .
She said: “Women represent 49.3 per cent of the UAE population, and our active participation in the economy and society will reap insurmountable benefits.
"However, gender balance is about more than economics. Above all, it is about happiness; the happiness of women who never have to compromise on family or career, and the happiness of men who share a common vision for the continued progress of their society and nation.”
Working for equality between genders in UAE workplace
The UAE Gender Balance Council was established earlier this year by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Council, chaired by the President of Dubai Women Establishment, Shaikha Manal Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is responsible for the development of policies and initiatives which empower Emirati women with opportunities and skills, and enhance their role in the nation’s progress. The UAE is the only country in the world to establish a government entity dedicated to achieving this goal. It has established a Gender Balance Index, which is a national ranking system to measure gender balance at the work place and this index is slated to be launched across all public sector offices soon.
The Gender Balance Forum will hold its first conference in Dubai in February 2016 to highlight the UAE’s efforts to empower Emirati women and provide a platform for the exchange of experiences about gender balance, the development of women’s capabilities and women’s empowerment.