UAE government, Microsoft advance women's empowerment efforts

UAE government, Microsoft advance women's empowerment efforts

DUBAI, 3rd April, 2021 (WAM) -- Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government and the Future, has reaffirmed the UAE government’s commitment towards supporting global efforts in bridging the gender gap, achieving balance, and ensuring equal opportunities between women and men in various fields, through promoting partnerships between government and private sectors.

Minister Al Roumi stated, in her keynote speech delivered at a virtual event in honour of International Women’s Day sponsored by Microsoft entitled "International Women’s Day Summit", that the year 2021 signifies a special occasion for the UAE, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

She added that this year carries great importance in light of international efforts to achieve economic and societal recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which deepened the gender gap, despite the significant role of women especially those working on the front lines.

Al Roumi reiterated the UAE government keenness on strengthening cooperation with the private sector and entrepreneurs globally to empower women while acknowledging the vital role that international companies such as Microsoft play to advance global societies.

She called for evaluating efforts made by both sectors to empower women and increasing them to design policies and strategies to reduce the gender gap; a key focus being enhancing skills, building capabilities in addition to creating opportunities such as those provided by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Programmes such as Microsoft’s "Tomoh", which empowers and train Emirati women, is a great source of pride, she noted.

The UAE Minister also called upon graduates to enhance their skills and experiences to participate in building the future, adding that the UAE has achieved regional leadership as indicated by the Gender Gap Report 2020 in terms of gender balance and equality under the directives and vision of UAE leadership.

Enhancing women role in entrepreneurship is a key pillar, noted Al Roumi, while stressing that despite great global development over the past fifty years, the gap in gender balance still exists, especially in employment opportunities and income levels.

She stated that gender inequality affects global economies in several areas such as skill development, job opportunities, competitiveness, and preparing for the future.

"One of the most important factors for achieving balance is skills parity," she said, noting that an essential area witnessed the growing gender gap globally last year was economic participation and the availability of opportunities. According to the Minister, the decrease was as much as 58 percent resulting from job automation and the weak presence of women in high-paying jobs.

The virtual event highlighted the UAE government and companies such as Microsoft fundamental role in empowering women in future skill development and leadership, honouring International Women’s Day, and celebrated their achievements tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, and their efforts in promoting rapid economic recovery.

The event was attended by Céline Brémaud, VP, SMO of Microsoft MEA; Sayed Hashish, General Manager of Microsoft UAE; and Maria Conceicao, Founder and Managing Director of the Maria Cristina Foundation.

In his remarks, Hashish urged women to shape their future according to their aspirations and talents; Microsoft will certainly continue its commitment to empower every person and organisation in the UAE and abroad to achieve more.

Hashish quoted a recent analysis by McKinsey, which indicated that women's jobs were 1.8 times more likely to be cut during the pandemic than men's jobs, and that women make up 39 percent of the global labor market, as well as 54 percent of all jobs lost as of May 2020.

He noted that companies with greater gender diversity in their executive management teams could achieve on average 25 percent greater profits than those entities with less diversification, in reference to a recent McKinsey study.