UAE Gender Balance Council adopts 2017 operational plan

Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) and wife of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said that the international award recently bestowed on Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, is a source of pride for both UAE and Arab women.

This honour has been conferred on the ‘Mother of the UAE’ for her contributions to helping enhance the role of women in the development of the UAE and the region.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) presented Sheikha Fatima with the Personal Leadership Award 2016 for her role in helping the UAE achieve global levels of gender equality in the field of telecommunication and information technology.

The Award, a joint initiative of the ITU and UN Women, recognises individuals and organisations who are committed to promoting gender equality and empowering women through information technology and telecommunications.

Sheikha Manal congratulated Sheikha Fatima on this international recognition.

Sheikha Fatima has made vital contributions to creating a conducive environment for women’s development as part of the UAE’s efforts to empower women across sectors based on the firm belief that the development of the nation cannot be achieved without women playing a greater role in society.

“Sheikha Fatima is a unique UAE woman role model for people across the world. The award is a clear recognition of her impact on society, and her achievements in empowering women and promoting gender equality locally and regionally,” Sheikha Manal said.

Meanwhile, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council Mona Ghanem Al Marri chaired the Board of Directors meeting of the UAE Gender Balance Council at the headquarters of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood in Abu Dhabi.

The Board Members discussed a number of areas including the Council’s achievements over the year. The Board also approved the operational plan for 2017, which covers events, legislations, international representation, official visits of the Council, the Council’s activities and local initiatives to promote gender equality.

The Board also discussed the hosting of prominent figures in the field of gender equality, media meetings, and the outcome of the United Nations Development Program. 

The Board unveiled the Balance Guide for Federal and Local entities developed in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as well as the results of the Gender Balance Index. The Board also announced the entities it will honour for their contributions to promote gender balance.

Al Marri conveyed to the Board members HH Sheikha Manal’s appreciation for their efforts in achieving the organisation’s objectives.

The Board of Directors also reviewed key meetings held over the past three months.

These included the reception held by Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi at his palace, where Board members briefed him on the Council’s objective of promoting women’s participation in society, and increasing their contributions across various sectors.

The Board Members also briefed Sheikh Saud bin Saqr on the amendments to the law on maternity leave at the federal level.
Mona Ghanem Al Marri said that the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah hailed the establishment of the Council, which helps further strengthen the UAE’s position as a leading country in gender balance.

She also said that the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah praised the efforts of Sheikha Manal in supporting UAE women, and increasing women’s participation in various spheres of life.

Al Marri and the Board members expressed their gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, and praised the decision of the Ras Al Khaimah government to adopt an amendment in the law that extends the maternity leave in the Emirate to three fully paid months, in accordance with the recommendations of the Council; and to implement the Gender Balance Index, which was introduced among federal entities following the approval of Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Al Marri also praised the decision of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah to extend the maternity leave to three fully paid months.

She also thanked Cabinet Member and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan who praised the role of the Council and its programs and initiatives at a recent reception for the Board members.

Al Marri said that at the reception, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed was briefed about the objectives of the Council which include bridging the gender gap, improving the UAE’s ranking in international reports on gender balance, enhancing gender balance in decision making positions, and making the UAE a model for gender equality.