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Mona Ghanem Al Marri addressing the a UAE Gender Balance meeting in Dubai Image Credit: DMO

Dubai: Gender balance is becoming more established in various sectors of the country, said Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court.

Sheikh Manal expressed her pride in the awareness and interest that the UAE private sector, with its national and international institutions, attaches to gender balance priorities. She commended the companies’ willingness in the UAE Private sector for their determination to support the UAE’s commitment and continuous pursuit to achieve the sustainable development goals. She stressed the private sector’s pivotal role in supporting the government’s efforts to enhance gender balance in the UAE to achieve economic prosperity, social stability and sustainable growth.

Sustainable growth

Sheikha Manal said that the positive interaction of private sector institutions with the “ SDG 5 Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance in the UAE Private Sector “ initiative, which aims to enhance gender balance in the private sector by raising women’s participation in senior and middle management roles to 30% by 2025.

She affirmed that this pledge is the result of a long-standing partnership between the UAE Government and the private sector and is a direct result of the efforts of the Private Sector Advisory Council on Sustainable Development Goals, in cooperation with the National Committee for Sustainable Development Goals, represented by the UAE Gender Balance Council (UAE GBC) and the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC).

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Mona Ghanem Al Marri (centre) with representatives of eight companies which have joined the “Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance in the UAE Private Sector Image Credit: DMO

Eight companies join the pledge

The UAE GBC announced that eight major national and international companies operating in a variety of fields in the country have joined the “Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance in the UAE Private Sector” initiative, bringing the number of companies entering this voluntary pledge from 56 national and international companies to 64.

This new step was announced during the fifth signing ceremony held by the UAE GBC in the presence of Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, and Chairperson of the Global Council on Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG-5 Gender Equality).

New companies joining the initiative include Emirates NBD, Pfizer, PwC Middle East, Nissan, Mercer, BSH Home Appliances Middle East, ENGIE, and Arabian Ethicals.

The signing of the pledge was followed by a round-table discussion in which Mona Al Marri participated, alongside members of the UAE Gender Balance Council.

Over 80 leaders of private sector companies who have previously signed the pledge participated in round-table discussions alongside leadership on key topics including changes made at the organisational level since signing the pledge; policy gaps and opportunities around gender balance in the UAE; the future skills needed to meet UAE economic goals; and further ways to advance public-private collaboration and achieve the UAE vision.,

Overcoming challenges

In her opening speech during the signing ceremony, Al Marri expressed her pride in the success of this initiative, which started with 18 companies when it was launched in January 2022. She noted that the companies joining the pledge are among the most renowned institutions in the world, and each of them are great contributors to the UAE’s economy and society.

She said that the UAE is working to meet the challenges of gender balance and bridge gaps in leadership positions through constructive cooperation between the government and the private sector in taking the necessary measures and procedures and working together in a meaningful way to enhance the inspiring Emirati experience in gender balance, which has become a global model to follow.

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She pointed out that the initiative has received encouraging global appreciation and has been discussed in many international forums as one of the best practices in the field of partnership between the government and private sectors to achieve national goals and women’s economic empowerment.

“The gender balance agenda is a priority for the UAE government, and the private sector is an indispensable partner in achieving parity across the economy and society. The power of partnerships and dialogue should not be underestimated — and together, we can build a more prosperous, thriving, and future-ready UAE for us all,” she added.

Four pillars

The pledge includes four main pillars: ensuring equal pay, promoting recruitment and promotion on the basis of gender equality, including in senior leadership positions, mainstreaming a gender balance perspective in policies and programs governing work in companies to support employees, and finally being transparent and providing the UAE GBC between the gender steps achieved in each company joined the undertaking.