Dubai: The UAE has jumped 23 positions to 26th in the 2019 UNDP Gender Equality Index making it the highest ranked Arab country in the world.

This achievement was accomplished just four years after the establishment of the UAE Gender Balance Council in 2015, when the UAE was then ranked 49th in the world. The country is now just one spot away from achieving its goal of becoming one of the world’s top 25 countries in the Index by 2021.

President of the UAE Gender Balance Council Her Highness Shaikha Manal bint Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said, “We will work hard to exceed our national target for 2021. Our leadership inspires us to launch new initiatives that will help us continue achieving successes in this field.”

Initiatives such as increasing female representation in the Federal National Council to 50 per cent this year, helped the UAE’s ranking added Shaikha Manal.

The UNDP Gender Inequality Index 2019, issued annually by UNDP, measures gender inequalities in three important aspects of human development: health, empowerment and labour. The Index ranks countries using five indicators, including maternal mortality ratio, adolescent birth rate, proportion of parliamentary seats occupied by females, proportion of adult females and males aged 25 years and older with at least some secondary education, and labour force participation rate of female and male populations aged 15 years and older.

Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, expressed pride in the achievement and said that it reflects the collaboration between different entities in the UAE.

She stressed that the Council will continue to work to enhance the UAE’s ranking globally through a series of gender balance legislations and initiatives.

Also helping the UAE’s ranking has been the council’s launch of ‘The Gender Balance Guide: Actions for UAE Organisations’, which has been adopted by private and public organisations as a tool to advance gender balance in the workplace.

The Guide, which was developed by the UAE Gender Balance Council in coordination with the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is the first of its kind in the world. It is aligned with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, and the UAE Vision 2021 goal of becoming one of the top 25 countries for gender equality.

The Council also collaborated with the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future to launch the UAE Gender Balance Index, and the ‘Global Gender Circle’ initiative to reduce the gender gap in women’s economic contribution. It also recommended innovative initiatives to support the global gender agenda and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5.

Director General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) Abdullah Nasser Lootah, said: “We are proud of the significant progress the UAE has made in the Gender Inequality Index rankings, which reflects the efforts of local and federal partners of FCSA, mainly the Ministry of Health and Prevention and local statistics centres, to provide accurate data and statistics in accordance with UN standards. The objective of the team is to support the UAE’s efforts to achieve a top ranking in all global indices, and to become the best country in the world by 2071.”