Sat 18-03-2017 19:20 PM

UAE Gender Balance Council concludes participation in UN’s ‘Commission on the Status of Women’ meetings

NEW YORK, 18th March, 2017 (WAM)--The UAE Gender Balance Council has concluded its participation at the 61st session of the ‘Commission on the Status of Women’ (CSW61), held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The meeting brought together 45 delegations from across the world, including representatives of UN Member States, UN entities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), focussed on shaping global standards of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The meetings explored new ways of strengthening cooperation towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 - ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, of the seventeen SDGs, which was adopted by world leaders in 2015. Discussions have also included showcasing the UAE’s efforts and achievements in supporting and empowering women in political, economic and social fields.

Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, met with Selim Jahan, Director of UNDP's Human Development Report Office (HDRO), to discuss UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s assigned mission to the UAE Gender Balance Council of establishing the UAE as one of the world’s top 25 countries in the UNDP’s "Gender Inequality Index" in support of SDG 5.

The meeting was also attended by Shamsa Saleh, Secretary-General of the UAE Gender Balance Council and Milorad Kovacevic, the Chief Statistician of the Human Development Report Office.

Al Marri stressed the Council’s commitment to extending the circle of discussion amongst various global entities, to promote the exchange of expertise and ideas for strengthening female participation, regionally and globally.

She added that the UAE’s achievements in enhancing the role of women has created a positive impact in society, and the Council has a responsibility to continue promoting the participation of women in the region and achieving gender balance across all sectors. Al Marri also highlighted that the UAE is striving to enhance cooperation with regional and global entities to increase women’s influence in the regional and international development process.

Selim Jahan applauded the UAE’s continued efforts in advancing women’s participation. This work is reflected by statistics which indicate the remarkable progress achieved in enhancing the presence of women in political, economic, educational and community roles. He also recognised the UAE’s efforts in establishing itself as one of the world’s top 25 countries in the UNDP’s "Gender Inequality Index", noting the UNDP’s willingness to provide all possible forms of support to help the UAE achieve this important goal, in line with its strategic vision.

Al Marri also met with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, on the sidelines of CSW61. During the meeting, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka expressed her appreciation of the UAE leadership’s efforts to achieve gender equality, emphasising the achievements of the UAE Gender Balance Council, which recently hosted the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel meeting on Women’s Economic Empowerment, in Dubai. T Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka also commended the UAE government’s continuous efforts to support female participation by creating an environment where women have the opportunity to prove themselves and their capabilities. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka added that the meeting highlighted the important collaboration and contribution of both parties, each sharing their unique experiences, ideas and constructive solutions to achieve SDG 5 and drive the dialogue on gender to the top of the global development agenda through continued discussions in future panels.

The meeting also featured discussions about increasing cooperation and strengthening relations with UN Women, following the establishment of the UN Women GCC Liaison Office in Abu Dhabi in October. The office strengthens UN Women’s partnership with GCC countries to accelerate the global movement for gender equality, in line with the UAE’s vision to enhance women’s empowerment in UAE and the region.

As part of CSW61, Mona Al Marri participated in a dialogue on ‘Full and Productive Employment and Decent Work for All’, which explored how SDG 8 - ‘decent work and economic growth’, among the seventeen other sustainable development goals adopted by the UN for 2030, can be realised for women. Al Marri highlighted the UAE’s various achievements in enhancing the role and participation of women in the workplace, as well as their contribution to the nation’s continued economic growth.

She emphasised that the status of women within the UAE has flourished. "Since the establishment of the Federation in 1971, thanks to the UAE Constitution, which guarantees equal rights for both women and men, women in the UAE enjoy the same access to education and right to practice professions. Today, women constitute 46.6% of the UAE labour market, with 66% in the public sector and 30% in decision-making positions."

Al Marri added that the country has eight female ministers serving in the UAE Cabinet, including 23-year-old Shamma Al Mazrui, who is Minister of State for Youth Affairs. She stated that appointing the world’s youngest female minister is a reflection of the UAE’s commitment to ensuring women’s inclusion in driving the future of the nation.

"The UAE ranks first in the MENA region in the wage equality indicator and amongst the top 10 globally as per the WEF 2016 Gender Gap report. We have over 23,000 registered businesswomen running investments worth around 15 billion US dollars. The UAE is also the first country in the Arab region to introduce a mandatory female presence in corporate boardrooms, with a target of 20% by 2020 for listed companies, and Emirati female role models are present in many diverse STEM fields with great prospects of further female participation in this industry with 56% of today’s STEM graduates being women."

Al Marri also referred to various initiatives, projects and activities the UAE is launching to bring gender balance to the forefront of the nation’s policy dialogue, including the launch of the UAE Gender Balance Council in 2015, as a federal entity with legislation to help achieve gender balance in all government development plans.

In line with the directives of H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment and wife of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the UAE Gender Balance Council recently announced the launch of its new ‘Global Gender Circle’ initiative, which is designed to accelerate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5.

The first session in a series of Global Gender Circle meetings was hosted by the United Arab Emirates Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, and aims to reduce the gender gap and enhance women’s participation in the economic sector. The Global Gender Circle initiative was created to provide new opportunities for international leaders and experts in gender equality to come together and develop innovative ideas to accelerate the UN (SDG) 5.

The UN SDG 5 which is among the seventeen SDGs approved by the UN Member States in the World Summit in September 2015, is to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, and provides women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision making processes, which will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.