1. Launching ‘The Gender Balance Guide: Actions for UAE Organisations’ (the first-of-its-kind in the world)
Gender Balance Guide

Drawing on the international best practices, standards and recommendations of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries, the guide supports UAE organisations in creating gender sensitive environments that empower men and women to participate across all sectors.

As a reference tool for gender balance in the region, the guide encompasses five key action areas, including commitment and oversight; integrating gender into policies and programmes; promoting gender sensitive engagement of personnel; improving gender balance in leadership and gender sensitive communication.

Through successfully implementing the actions and recommendations outlined across these areas, organisations throughout the UAE have an opportunity to create a friendly and inclusive environment for all.

2.Gender Balance Workshops

Following the official launch of The Gender Balance Guide, the UAE Gender Balance Council and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), hosted seven workshops to introduce the Guide and raise awareness about the steps required to create conducive work environments for gender balance. The workshops were led by global gender experts and attended by representatives of government entities and private institutions across the UAE.

The workshops covered the following topics:
  • Commitment and Oversight
  • Delivering Gender Balanced Policies and Programs
  • Improving Gender Balance in Leadership
  • Incorporating a Gender Sensitive Human Resource Management Approach
  • Incorporating a Gender Sensitive Budget
  • Engaging Personnel Towards Gender Balance
  • Using Gender Sensitive Communication
3. Participation in the UAE Government Annual Meetings

The Council has participated in the UAE Government Annual Meetings, reflecting the UAE's interest in the field of gender balance and establishing it as a priority within the national agenda.

4. UNDP Gender Inequality Index

The UAE ranks 49 in the Gender Inequality Index in the 2018 UNDP Human Development Report. Therefore, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, issued a decree for the establishment of the UAE Gender Balance Council, with the aim to increase the UAE’s standing to become one of the world’s top 25 countries in the Index.

5. The Gender Balance Index

The Gender Balance Index, launched by the Council in 2016, is one of the UAE's national indicators and assesses the performance of government entities in enhancing gender balance. Individuals and organisations leading in this field are honoured each year through the following categories:

  • Best Personality for Supporting Gender Balance
  • Best Federal Entity for Supporting Gender Balance
  • Best Initiative for Supporting Gender Balance
6. Gender Balance Index Awards

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, awarded winners of the Gender Balance Index in the 2017 and 2018 editions in three categories:

  • Best Personality for Supporting Gender Balance
  • Best Federal Entity for Supporting Gender Balance
  • Best Initiative for Supporting Gender Balance
7. Women on Boards

In November 2011, Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the “Women on Boards” initiative to increase the number of women on boards of directors in the UAE.

In support of the initiative and the UAE’s goal to increase female representation on the boards of directors of public shareholding companies to 20% by 2020, the UAE Gender Balance Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA).

Under the agreement, SCA and the Council are working together to organise training programmes on financial markets and financial services, which will help to develop professional standards and raise awareness of financial products and tools. This will in turn play an important role in qualifying women for company management, especially across listed companies, supporting the drive towards economically empowering women and enhancing female participation on boards in corporate entities and federal institutions.

8. Global Gender Circles

The UAE Gender Balance Council launched its ‘Global Gender Circle’ initiative during the United Nations’ sixty-first session of the ‘Commission on the Status of Women’ (CSW61).

The Global Gender Circle initiative was 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 through a series of meetings.

To date, three Global Gender Circles have been organised by the Council:

1. Vision to Action: Challenges of Gender Policy Implementation

The first Global Gender Circle, which was hosted by the United Arab Emirates Permanent Mission to the United Nations, 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.

2. Gender responsive budgeting

In coordination with the Ministry of Finance, the UAE Gender Balance Council – which is working towards the implementation of gender responsive budgeting on a federal level – held the second Global Gender Circle meeting in Washington D.C.

The meeting was hosted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and organised to exchange expertise and opinions, and identify the best international standards and practices in implementing gender responsive budgeting, as well as the enabling factors which contribute to its effectiveness and success in narrowing the gender gap.

The session explored various topics, including the findings of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and IMF’s global survey on gender budgeting initiatives, gender budgeting as a public financial management framework in G7 countries, and financing for gender equality and training.

3. Global Gender Circle in Brussels

As part of its official visit to Brussels, a delegation from the UAE Gender Balance Council, led by its vice-president Mona Al Merri, held the third meeting of the Global Gender Circle. Hosted by the UAE embassy in Belgium, the meeting brought together gender experts, key civil society stakeholders and policymakers to share insights into best practices for fostering gender balance and advancing women empowerment.

9. Extending maternity leave in the UAE

To enhance the family life of working women, a review of the UAE Maternity Law was initiated and led by the UAE Gender Balance Council in 2016. Upon the Council’s recommendation, the UAE government extended maternity leave for female federal government employees from two to three months.