Mona Al Merri rang the Dubai Financial Market Gender Equality bell on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Image Credit: Courtesy: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) Gender Equality Bell was rung by Mona Al Merri, Vice-President of the UAE Gender Balance Council on Thursday to celebrate the occasion of International Women’s Day.

The ceremony underlines DFM’s active role in empowering women in the capital markets sector as well as promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Gender Equality (Goal Five).

Seventy global exchanges took part in the bell-ringing for a second year in partnership with the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative.

The UAE Cabinet in 2012 approved a decision to make it mandatory for corporations and government entities to include women on their boards of directors, making it the first country in the region, and the second in the world after Norway, to enact such legislation.

Al Merri said the results of the initiative were positive — female representation in federal government leadership positions increased to 17 per cent in 2018, while the number rose to 4 per cent in companies listed on the Dubai Financial Market in 2017.

These figures represent an increase of 2.49 per cent in 2016 and 1.2 per cent in 2008.

“We are in constant contact with Dubai Financial Market and public shareholding companies to support this initiative,” said Al Merri. “This is in line with global examples that demonstrate that the presence of women in leadership positions positively impacts the performance of companies.”

Eisa Kazim, Chairman of DFM, said: “Over the past years, the DFM has accelerated its efforts to empower women and strengthen gender balance in collaboration with various institutions in the UAE and beyond. We look forward to seeing these efforts gain further momentum in order to realise the leadership’s vision and national goals pertaining to gender balance and empowering women.

“We deeply believe that joint efforts provide us with a solid foundation for greater success in the future, especially in terms of increasing women’s representation in the board of directors of listed companies to 20 per cent.”