UAE Gender Balance Council discusses initiatives for 2017 and showcases its achievements for the year

The UAE Gender Balance Council recently held a meeting to discuss its local and global business agenda, at the General Secretariat of the Cabinet in Dubai. Led by HE Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, the meeting featured discussions about the ‘UAE Gender Balance Guide’, which will be officially launched in September 2017, in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), alongside talks regarding the terms of the proposed law to introduce nurseries within the private sector.

Other topics discussed during the meeting included the action plan for the Gender Balance Index, the Council’s key achievements in early 2017, as well as the Council’s strategy and plans for the next three months.

The UAE Gender Balance Council also announced its upcoming participation in the United Nations’ sixty-first session of the “Commission on the Status of Women” (CSW), which will take place in New York, in March.

During the meeting, which coincided with International Women’s Day, Mona Al Marri presented the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, 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 the Council’s proposals for the coming months.

The plans included various projects, initiatives and activities designed to achieve the Council’s overall objectives of enhancing women’s participation and achieving gender balance across all sectors.

Mona Al Marri expressed Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s aspirations for the Council to support women in achieving further success as they become role models for other Arab women, and contribute to the continued development of our nation, alongside their male counterparts.

According to Her Highness Sheikha Manal also stressed the importance of launching initiatives that highlight the positive role of women, develop their skills and provide them with the necessary tools to support the UAE’s future progress.

Mona Al Marri highlighted the importance of committing to the timeframes specified during the meeting and implementing the initiatives efficiently to enhance gender balance across various sectors. HE said that this will be achieved through activating tools to report and monitor gender balance progress, supporting entities within this field and participating in international forums.

HE added that these important contributions are designed to open up opportunities to foster cooperation and strengthen the exchange of information and experiences with global entities striving to achieve women’s empowerment, in addition to discussing new ways to increase women’s participation and provide them with the right opportunities to contribute to socio-economic development.

This is in line with the directives of the UAE’s wise leadership to activate the role of women as a crucial element in the development and progress of the UAE and the achievement of excellence across various sectors.

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

During the meeting, the UAE Gender Balance Council confirmed its participation in the sixty-first session of the United Nations’ “Commission on the Status of Women” (CSW), which will be held in New York from 13-24 March. HE Mona Al Marri highlighted that through this participation, the Council will identify international best practices on women’s rights in economic, civil, social and educational fields.

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.

The UAE Gender Balance Guide

The Council also confirmed that the UAE Gender Balance Guide will be officially launched in September 2017, in collaboration with the OECD.

The Council will host various workshops for representatives from federal entities, to introduce the guide and discuss how to effectively implement it.

Proposed law for private sector nurseries and the implementation of the Gender Balance Index

During the meeting, recommendations on the proposed law to introduce nurseries within the private sector were also reviewed, as well as plans for the Gender Balance Index, including its three initiatives which will support the efforts of individuals and organisations in enhancing gender balance throughout the UAE. The first initiative includes documenting the efforts of supporting bodies through the "UAE Gender Balance Stamp"; the second involves the implementation of the "UAE Gender Balance Supporters Medal"; and the third is the establishment of the "Best Three UAE Gender Balance Initiatives Award".

2017 achievements

The Council discussed its key achievements since the start of the year, including the implementation of various successful initiatives and events. In February, the Council hosted the “United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel Meeting on Women’s Economic Empowerment” in Dubai, held for the first time in the MENA region and attended by many government officials, business leaders and global organisations. The meeting provided a platform for the development of practical recommendations to enhance female participation in the global economy and accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UAE Gender Balance Council’s key achievements in 2017 also include announcing the world’s first Gender Balance Guide during the Council’s participation at the World Government Summit in Dubai, in the presence of Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD. The Council hosted a three-day workshop during the World Government Summit to accelerate the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 - to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, as part of ‘SDGs in Action @ WGS’. Organised by the World Government Summit in collaboration with the United Nations, the World Bank and the UN Foundation, ‘SDGs in Action @ WGS’ explored the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in achieving the 17 SDGs, bringing together scientists, experts, government officials and other key stakeholders to discuss the key challenges of achieving each goal and to identify potential solutions to those challenges.

Attendees

The meeting was attended by Dr. Omar Abdul Rahman Al Nuaimi, Assistant Undersecretary for Communications and International Relations at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation; Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Awar, the Director General of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources; Reem Al Falasi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood; Sana Suhail, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Community Development and Shamsa Saleh, Secretary-General of the UAE Gender Balance Council.

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