The toolkit was among diverse initiatives discussed during the virtual meeting Image Credit: Screengrab

Dubai: The UAE Gender Balance Council will launch a ‘Global Advanced Practices for Gender Balance Toolkit’ during the World Government Summit in March in Dubai, it was announced on Monday.

Shamsa Saleh, secretary-general of the council said the toolkit was developed as a project of the Global Council for Sustainability Development Goal 5 (Gender Equality), in cooperation with the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

She added that it will include guidelines, global legislative models and practical policies on how to incorporate gender balance and enable empowerment across government, the private sector and society, with a particular view to prioritising gender balance during crises.

Saleh’s comments came during the council’s first meeting of 2022, chaired by Mona Al Marri, vice president of the council.

During the meeting, Saleh reviewed a number of projects that the council is currently working on in cooperation with local and international partners, including the toolkit.

Global partnerships

She said the other upcoming initiatives include the Gender Balance Forum, organised in cooperation with the World Bank during the World Government Summit.

Saleh also noted that the Council participated in the first meeting of ‘G20 EMPOWER’, part of the upcoming G20 summit this year hosted by Indonesia, which highlighted the support of women in SMEs and the development of digital capabilities that support them, stressing that these initiatives reflect the Council’s commitment to strengthening its global partnerships to support gender balance at home and abroad.

Mona Al Marri outlined the Council’s achievements and noted that multiple initiatives have been launched in recent months to advance gender balance.

Al Marri also announced that an introductory workshop will be organised for representatives of each emirate’s Executive Council in March, in cooperation with the Prime Minister’s Office, to introduce the indicator, mechanisms, best practices and policies that support gender balance in the workplace, in order to achieve the best results and the vision of the wise leadership at the local level.

Impactful projects

She highlighted that the council continues to develop and launch impactful initiatives, with a view to strengthening its partnerships with international organisations and the UAE private sector. This commitment to collaboration is in line with the vision and directives of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, and her commitment to elevating the UAE’s global standing in the gender balance file.

Al Marri noted that the council has completed the evaluation of the entities participating in the gender balance index at the federal government level and the winning individuals and entities will be honoured in the coming period. She pointed to the UAE government’s direction to implement the index for local governments after the positive results that were achieved at the federal level and the banking sector in the past years.

Voluntary pledge

The Council also worked with the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC) on a unique initiative for the private sector, where 17 local and multinational companies signed a voluntary pledge to accelerate gender balance in the private sector.

This is particularly in leadership positions and decision-making roles in the private sector, which contributes to accelerating the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Gender Equality).

The initiative objective is to raise the percentage of women’s participation in leadership positions to 30 per cent by 2025.

Al Marri stated that there will be other major local and international institutions joining this initiative in the coming days, reflecting the private sector’s commitment to the vision of the UAE government. She added that the Council will hold weekly individual and group workshops for pledge signatories to discuss opportunities and challenges related to gender balance and to ensure that this public-private partnership continues to be a sustainable and productive one.

Global indicators

Hanan Ahli reviewed the latest developments in gender balance indicators across global competitiveness reports and opportunities to improve the UAE’s performance. The UAE led the region and climbed to eighteenth place globally in gender equality in a report issued by the United Nations Development Programme in 2020.

Other notable achievements include ranking first in the Arab world in the Global Gender Gap Report 2021, issued by the World Economic Forum, as well as ranking first in Middle East and North Africa in the ‘Women, Business and the Law’ 2021 report issued by the World Bank, climbing 82.5 points in the overall index while achieving a full mark (100 points) across five areas: freedom of mobility, work, wages, entrepreneurship, and pension.

The meeting was attended by Khaled Abdullah Belhoul, undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdullah Al Saleh, undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy, Huda Al Hashimi, deputy minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs, Sultan Rashid Bakheet Al Matrooshi, assistant undersecretary of Ministry of Justice for Legal Affairs, Abdulla Ali Rashed Al Nuaimi, assistant undersecretary for Communications and International Relations at Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, Hanan Mansour Ahli, acting director general of the Federal Centre for Competitiveness and Statistics, and Shamsa Saleh, secretary-general of the Gender Balance Council.