In line with the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and as part of the UAE’s commitment to enhancing women’s participation and gender balance locally and globally, the UAE Gender Balance Council announced the launch of its new ‘Global Gender Circle’ initiative, at the United Nations’ sixty-first session of the ‘Commission on the Status of Women’ (CSW61) in New York. The first session in a series of Global Gender Circle meetings designed to accelerate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 - ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, was hosted by the United Arab Emirates Permanent Mission to the United Nations and chaired by HE Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, yesterday.
The Global Gender Circle initiative has been launched to reduce the gender gap in women's economic contribution; recommend innovative initiatives to support the global gender agenda and SDG 5; issue and publish white papers on gender policy recommendations; and establish a database of gender experts, by providing a key platform for thought leaders from across the world to develop new ideas and progressive solutions. The initiative was announced as part of the UAE Gender Balance Council’s three-day participation at CSW61, which is taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York until March 24th.
HH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum stressed that the UAE’s success and experience qualifies the country to play an important role in shaping a new global roadmap for gender balance. This comes as part of the wise leadership’s commitment towards enhancing gender balance and the key role that Emirati women play in achieving a positive impact in society, when the opportunities and the right support is available. HH highlighted that the UAE government ensures that these elements are available, to establish the UAE as a role model, regionally and globally.
HH Sheikha Manal highlighted the UAE’s commitment to working with relevant global entities to empower women and enhance gender balance as part of the country’s efforts to advance women’s participation regionally and globally, and provide all of the necessary support for women to contribute to the development process and their society.
The “Global Gender Circle” initiative coincides with the second report of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel (HLP), where the report was discussed in the meeting held last February in UAE.
In regards to the launch of the Global Gender Circle initiative, HE Mona Al Marri, said: “Through the Global Gender Circle initiative, we’re striving to provide new opportunities for international leaders and experts in gender equality to come together, develop innovative ideas and drive transformative change in achieving gender balance as well as bridging the gender gap.”
The first Global Gender Circle brought together gender experts to progress the global conversation about the ‘challenges of gender policy implementation’, supporting the exchange of best practices and ideas on innovative gender policies and gender mainstreaming. During the session, participants identified the most effective gender policy practices being implemented around the globe, how best to ensure that relevant institutions have the resources to effectively implement gender-based policies, and how government entities monitor and supervise the implementation of these policies.
Commenting on the first session, HE Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said: “Significant strides are being made across the world to achieve economic and political equality for women. In the UAE for example, we have successfully closed the gender gap in education – the literacy rate of women in the UAE is 95.8% and women account for 70% of university enrollment. In 1971, the UAE had a total of 45 graduates – only five of which were women. Nevertheless, there is still much work to be done, locally and globally. In addition to progress driven by growth, we need innovative policies to achieve gender balance throughout the world’s institutions. More and more countries across the globe are developing policies to correct gender imbalances. Yet, these policies will only be effective if implemented consistently and throughout all levels of our institutions.”
HE continued: “We were proud to collaborate with the UAE Mission to host the first of our Global Gender Circle sessions at this year’s CSW, which provided an opportunity for thought leaders from across the world to develop breakthrough ideas on gender policy and support our vision to overcome the challenges of gender policy implementation. We look forward to further exploring opportunities with international gender experts in future sessions, as we work together to achieve our common goal of realising gender balance for all.”
HE Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, thanked the UAE Gender Balance Council and highlighted its achievements. HE said: “The UAE Mission was honoured to host the UAE Gender Balance Council’s first Global Gender Circle. In the two short years since the UAE Gender Balance Council was established, it has worked towards narrowing the gender gap across government agencies and promoting more gender parity in decision-making positions. The Council’s objectives complement the leadership and contributions of our First Lady and Mother of the Nation, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.”
The CSW, established in 1946, is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which specialises in creating global policies on gender balance and strengthening the role of women through the development of recommendations and reports for the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on women’s empowerment. The annual meeting encourages participants to share and assess the progress on gender balance, identify challenges, and set international standards and policies to enhance gender equality and empower women globally.