Dubai: The UAE Gender Balance Council has announced the winners of the third edition of the Gender Balance Index.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, congratulated the winners and commended Emirati women’s valuable contributions to the sustainable development and prosperity of the UAE over the past 50 years. His Highness emphasised that women’s equal participation was one of the pillars on which the nation was founded, and continues to be a value reinforced through legislative reforms, progressive policy making, and strong institutions that work to further embed women’s central role in shaping the UAE’s future.
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The third edition of the federal government’s Gender Balance Index features winners in four categories: Best Personality Supporting Gender Balance, Best Federal Organisation Supporting Gender Balance, Best Initiative Supporting Gender Balance, and a new category, Best Banking and Financial Sector Institution Supporting Gender Balance.
UAE: An inspirational success story
Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said: “Since the establishment of the UAE, women have been supported through pioneering legislations and initiatives that promote gender balance.”
She also highlighted that the gender balance agenda is a national priority, and that the UAE has achieved significant progress in a short time to ensure both women and men are empowered, given equal opportunities to participate in the nation’s development process and achieve success. Her Highness expressed her pride in the country’s high ranking in global gender balance reports, adding that these achievements have been made possible by the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the unwavering support extended by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF).
The first category of the index recognises individuals who have played an instrumental role in their institutions’ gender balance achievements. These individuals have steered initiatives to enhance equality of opportunities for men and women and ensured their institutions contribute to making the country a model for gender balance regionally and globally.
His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, was named the winner in this category for his tireless efforts in providing women with a positive and supportive work environment in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.
Best Federal Organisation
The index’s second category recognises the best federal organisation that supports gender balance. Evaluation in this category is based on national indicators in three focus areas: decision-making, education and experience, and work environment.
The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure was named the winner in this category at the ministerial level while the Federal Demographic Council won the award at the agency/establishment level.
Best Banking and Financial Sector Institution
The third edition of the Gender Balance Index includes a new category for Best Banking and Financial Sector Institution Supporting Gender Balance. Twelve banking and financial institutions in the UAE were nominated for this award. Standard Chartered Bank was named the winner in this category after the bank achieved the highest ranking in five evaluation criteria: supporting global sustainability indicators in the field of gender balance; realising the institution’s vision by fostering an overall culture of gender balance; employing gender balance to empower human resources; ensuring balance when providing services to customers; and the governance of gender balance enablers.
The CEO of Standard Chartered Bank in the UAE, Rola Abu Minneh, is an Emirati banker with over 25 years of experience in banking and finance, and the first Emirati woman to head a bank in the UAE. Over the course of her professional career, Rola Abu Minneh has championed female entrepreneurship and empowerment. During her first year with the Bank, Rola was included in Arabian Business’ ‘World’s Most Powerful Arabs in 2019’ list, as well as Forbes Magazine’s 2020 list of ‘Middle East’s 100 Power Businesswomen’.
The Best Initiative Supporting Gender Balance award recognises best practices, projects, policies, and legislations that enhance and support gender balance on a national level. The Ministry of Health and Prevention won the award in this category in recognition of its decision to include cervical cancer vaccinations (HPV) within the National Immunisation Programme. The vaccine is administered in two doses to schoolgirls aged 13 and 14 who are in the 8th grade.
This initiative is a pioneering and vital step in preventing this type of cancer in women and girls and maintaining their overall health. Cervical cancer is identified as a cause of death for a quarter of a million women around the world and half a million women suffer from the illness annually. The Ministry of Health and Prevention’s initiative will contribute to reducing mortality from cervical cancer.
Over the past several years, the UAE Gender Balance Council has launched various initiatives and projects to promote gender balance in the country and move towards greater success and global leadership, in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Council, chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, works with key partners, including government and the private sector, to reduce the gender gap in all sectors. The Council has long-standing partnerships with global institutions and global leaders to promote the gender balance agenda and continues to adapt and implement global best practices to ensure the UAE is a model of gender balance in the region and the world. The UAE Gender Balance Council’s initiatives are aligned with the UAE 2021 Vision, as well as the UAE Centennial 2071.