In its drive to promote parity in the UAE and region, the Gender Balance Council launched the Gender Balance Centre for Excellence in Dubai yesterday in partnership with the World Bank.
The centre will offer consultations on regional gender reform and help the exchange of best practices around gender parity.
It aligns with the Council’s aim to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG-5), which is gender equality.
Hub for knowledge exchange
“The aim of the center is to be a hub for knowledge exchange between countries in our region, with a view to supporting everyone in implementing measurable reforms and initiatives that would strengthen gender balance,” said HE Mona Al Marri, vice-president of the UAE Gender Balance Council.
She said there were three key objectives with the centre:
- Sharing the UAE’s gender balance knowledge.
- Facilitating the exchange of ideas and initiatives across the region
- Strengthening women’s economic empowerment.
“We know that legal reform is one piece of the puzzle,” she added. “Without partners and advocates from the private sector, this would be very hard to achieve.
“The leadership of the country believes in the power of partnership.”
So far at least 24 private-sector companies have pledged to the Gender Balance Council to put women in 30 percent of their leadership positions by 2025.
Issam Abousleiman, the World Bank’s regional director for GCC countries, said the private sector must be a key partner in boosting the UAE’s global competitiveness in gender balance.
Gender balance and equal treatment under the law is just “smart economics”, he added: it would put $3 trillion into the MENA economy.
“The UAE has had a huge track record of introducing reforms in different things. I am glad to see that the country has created an ecosystem to incentivise and protect women on the job and to continuously help women to enter into the economic arena.”