Dubai Media Office said the second edition of the Gender Balance Awards recognised entities, as opposed to individuals, for their collective gender-balance efforts. Image Credit: Niño Jose Heredia/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE has issued a statement in response to media coverage surrounding the Gender Balance Awards.

In the statement issued by Dubai Media Office, it stressed that the UAE is known for its unwavering commitment to embedding a steadfast culture of gender balance across the region.

It stressed that the awards were received by men on behalf of the governmental entities they represented.

“This commitment has long since been translated into legislation and applied through the implementation of federal initiatives that ensure both women and men are recognized and included as equal counterparts with integral roles to play in the country’s progression and development,” it said.

The UAE Gender Balance Council was created under the chairmanship of Shaikha Manal Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the Gender Balance Council. Since its creation, the Council’s efforts have steadily and surely enhanced gender balance across the nation.

“This year’s Index recognized significant gender balance efforts, such as raising the participation of women in the police force to become the highest in the Arab world, and the implementation of the ‘Remote Employment’ initiative which increased the employment opportunities for women in the Northern Emirates and remote areas where fewer jobs are available. The Index’s awards were received by men on behalf of the governmental entities they represent”.

Among the Council’s most notable efforts is the Gender Balance Index that was derived from the highest national and global benchmarks, including the UAE Cabinet’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) ‘Gender Inequality Index’. The Index comprises of three categories, and the recipients of the Index’s awards represent the collective gender balance efforts of the federal entities they represent.

The first category recognised the ‘Best Personality Supporting Gender Balance’, the second category was listed as the ‘Best Federal Authority Supporting Gender Balance’, and the third category in the ‘Best Gender Balance Initiative’, recognised the best gender balance policy, legislation, or practice that has efficiently enhanced gender balance in government entities.

Dubai Media Office also clarified that the second edition of the Index recognised entities, as opposed to individuals, for their collective gender-balance efforts.

“This is indicative of the great and extraordinary progress we have made as a nation, where men in the UAE are proactively working alongside women to champion gender balance as a national priority,” it said.

The winner of the Index’s first edition 2017 included Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Chairwoman of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA), who received the ‘UAE Gender Balance Seal’.

According to statistics, women in the UAE make up 66 per cent of the public sector with 30 per cent in leadership roles. The UAE also has nine female ministers that contribute to 29 per cent of ministerial roles – the highest in the region – and constitute 20 per cent of the diplomatic corps.

The statement further added: “Women in the UAE are leaders, ministers, parliamentarians, educators, firefighters, scientists and entrepreneurs. They are empowered, valued, and included, and they will continue to be driving forces alongside their male counterparts to further establish the UAE as a global role model for gender balance.”