Dubai: The UAE has achieved remarkable progress in empowering women in various fields, mayors and councillors of over 50 cities attending the Global Cities Summit 2017 in Dubai were informed on Tuesday.
Aisha Miran, Assistant Secretary-General for strategy management and governance sector at the Dubai Executive Council, was answering a question related to Dubai’s high ranking in the percentage of school-aged girl population enrolled in schools when she touched upon other aspects related to women’s achievements and empowerment in the country in view of the International Women’s Day being observed on Wednesday.
Lauding the vision of the country’s great leaders in empowering women and giving them equal opportunities depending on their qualifications and capabilities, Miran said the government is trying as much as possible to provide a conducible environment for working women.
She listed various areas where women are excelling in the country. “Sixty-five per cent of our university graduates are women. The number of women in the workforce has picked up over the years. Today, we have eight women ministers and our Federal National Council comprises 22.5 per cent of women.”
She said 66 per cent of the UAE government workforce is made up of women and 30 per cent of them have decision-making powers.
According to the social progress index in 2015, Miran pointed out the UAE is ranked number one globally among 132 countries when it comes to treating women with respect.
“We definitely have our socio-cultural challenges. But we have [an] enabling environment and we are quite clear on the areas where we want to work on,” she said.
For example, the UAE is the first Arab country to establish a gender balance council and the government is trying to make policy changes to provide a conducive working environment for new mothers, she noted.
According to a global gender diversity report in 2016, Miran said, the UAE women are more ambitious than European women. “Eighteen per cent of UAE women aspired to be CEOs and managing directors compared to 11 per cent in the UK, eight per cent in France, seven per cent in Germany and four per cent in the Netherlands.”
Apart from supporting women to work with government and private sectors, she said the government has also set up an SME fund to support female entrepreneurs.
“There are socio-cultural cultural barriers [that women face while] trying to make work-life balance.
“We are trying as much as possible to make sure that it is a conducive environment for women to make the work-life balance and the government is working more towards changing perceptions while empowering women.”