UAE launches 'Gender Balance Guide' to adopt an inclusive work environment

The UAE Gender Balance Council  launched today the ‘Gender Balance Guide: Good Practices for the UAE Organisations’, a comprehensive set of guidelines and concrete actions aimed at helping UAE organisations adopt a gender-sensitive approach at their workplace.

The official launch of the Gender Balance Guide took place at the World Government Summit currently being held in Dubai.

A consultation phase led by the Gender Balance Council will follow in the upcoming months to collect the suggestions of concerned organisations.

Developed in strategic collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Gender Balance Guide provides benchmarks and concrete steps to enhance gender balance within decision-making positions, promote women-friendly working environments and embed gender balance within the policy framework.

Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of the Dubai Women Establishment and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs said: “The Gender Balance Guide is yet another key initiative of the Gender Balance Council that supports the UAE’s vision for enhancing women’s role as key partners and contributors in building the future of our nation.

"This initiative further strengthens our efforts to reduce the gender gap across all sectors, enhance the UAE’s ranking in global competitiveness reports on gender equality and achieve gender balance in decision-making positions, as well as promote the UAE as a model for gender balance.”

She continued: “This initiative signals a new phase in the Council’s strategy, in which we are strengthening our cooperation with international organisations focused on women’s empowerment to share best practices and successful experiences.

"The Guide has been developed in partnership with the OECD, the first of the Council’s strategic collaborations with global institutions.

"Our partnership with the OECD has helped us draw from successful global practices to create a Guide that comprehensively addresses various aspects of gender balance policy and implementation in a very practical way.”

Sheikha Manal noted that the newly launched Guide consolidates the steady progress made by the Gender Balance Council in promoting a culture of gender equality in the UAE.

In 2016, the Council launched the UAE Gender Balance Programme, a comprehensive framework to review legislations and national policies that support women, which has been in effect since last November.

The Council’s efforts led to the UAE government introducing legislative amendments to extend the maternity leave for Federal Government employees to three months paid leave.

Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council Mona Al Marri said: “The Gender Balance Guide marks a new milestone in the UAE’s progress towards gender equality.

"This Guide will help organisations deeply embed a culture of gender balance in their operations and strategic framework. This important new initiative is closely aligned with the UAE Vision 2021’s aim to enhance the participation of women in the economy.

"The Guide highlights best practices and policies that can help federal and government institutions in achieving their gender balance targets, contributing to the UAE’s vision of becoming one of the world’s top 25 countries in the UNDP Gender Inequality Index.”

The new Guide is based on the OECD 2015 Recommendation on Gender Equality in Public Life, the 2013 OECD Recommendation on Gender Equality in Employment, Entrepreneurship and Education, and draws from best practices across the world.

It indicates concrete steps, implementation tools and means of verification to align UAE policies, measures and practices with the highest global gender equality benchmarks.

Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD Mari Kiviniemi said: “The OECD believes that gender equality is imperative to inclusive growth. It is not just about being fair, it is about allowing women and men to shape their futures. Therefore, to embrace the future, our public policies, services, legislation and resources have to benefit all citizens- men and women.

"The Gender Balance Guide is an important achievement. It’s successful implementation across public and private sectors will definitely assist the UAE in becoming an example for gender balance in the workplace. The Guide is an important tool for providing concrete indications to leaders and decision makers as well as managers and practitioners.

"The path for you and our member countries  is still long and complex. It requires determination and hard work. Therefore, the OECD stands ready to accompany the UAE on this path, not only to exchange good practices, but also to learn from the UAE’s rich experience because it has a lot to share with us and with the world.”

The Guide includes Human Resource Management (HRM) tools, good practice guidelines and indicators, as well as policy-making guidelines and recommendations for governmental and private institutions to enhance gender-balanced representation and leadership.
 
The Gender Balance Guide recommends steps to promote work-life balance, family-friendly work practices and women’s leadership development as well as gender impact assessment, and gender budgeting.

It also highlights policies, practices and measures to promote the flexibility, transparency, and fairness of public and private employment systems, and suggests approaches to ensure equal pay and job opportunities for women and men in public and private sector entities.

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