Dubai: The UAE Gender Balance Council (UAE GBC) on Thursday held discussions with the Women’s Forum of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean to explore ways to expand cooperation.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean is an international organisation that brings together parliaments from the Euro-Mediterranean and Gulf regions to discuss common challenges.
The meeting was attended by Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council;Joanna Lima, President of the Women’s Forum of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean and Head of the Portuguese Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean; Fatima Zahraa Abdi, Vice-President of the Forum; Celine Cervi from the Secretariat of the Mediterranean Parliament; and Maryam Majid bin Thaniya, Member of the UAE Federal National Council and Vice President of the Parliamentary Women’s Forum of the Mediterranean Parliament.
The move to strengthen cooperation with the Women’s Forum of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean forms part of the UAE Gender Balance Council’s efforts to expand its partnerships with influential international gender balance institutions. The move also reflects the UAE leadership’s support for the Council’s objectives to enhance the role of women, preserve their gains in various fields, and promote gender balance regionally and globally.
The meeting was coordinated by the General Secretariat of the Federal National Council in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. A delegation from the Mediterranean Parliament is currently visiting the UAE to attend the meeting of the Women’s Forum of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean.
During the meeting, the visiting delegation was briefed about the Council’s mission to bridge the gender gap in various sectors in the UAE. The delegation was also briefed on the Council’s initiatives inspired by the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and guided by the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of the Dubai Women Establishment, and the wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs, which have enabled the UAE to make rapid strides in the field of gender balance.
The meeting also touched on the UAE Gender Balance Council’s recent selection by the World Economic Forum as a knowledge partner to advance gender balance globally.
Furthermore, the meeting discussed new opportunities for cooperation between the Council and the Forum to strengthen the role of women in political and parliamentary spheres.
Mona Al Marri said the UAE Federal National Council and the Parliament of the Mediterranean have established strong cooperation, which reflect the robust economic, cultural, political and commercial relations between the UAE and Mediterranean countries. The UAE GBC and the Women’s Forum of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean have an opportunity to build on these ties to promote gender balance regionally and globally, she added.
Al Marri said the UAE GBC and the Forum have the common objective of promoting women’s participation and gender balance in political life, as part of their efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The meeting also touched on the achievements of UAE women in various sectors including their contributions in the political field. The discussions highlighted the UAE’s emergence as one of the world’s leading countries in terms of the percentage of women’s parliamentary representation, which was endorsed by the Global Gender Gap Report issued by the World Economic Forum for 2021 and 2022, and the Global Competitiveness Report, issued by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland, which ranked the UAE No. 1 globally for female representation in parliament in 2020 and 2021.
Women comprise 50% of the UAE Federal National Council and 27.5% of the UAE cabinet. Al Marri emphasised that the UAE’s strategic plans place high priority on ensuring the equal participation of women in the nation’s development process.