Sunday 22 May 2022 - 6:30:38 pm

Local and multinational private sector companies affirm commitment to UAE Gender Balance Council vision to advance economic and social prosperity

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DUBAI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) -- Officials from 18 major local and international companies across various sectors in the UAE have expressed their pride in signing the voluntary pledge to accelerate gender balance and raise the percentage of women in leadership positions to 30 percent by 2025. The companies have expressed their commitment to accelerating the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Gender Equality).

Signatories also expressed their pride in being part of an initiative that contributes to the UAE’s global competitiveness, reduces gender gaps, and achieves the UAE leadership’s future vision. The signatories stressed their commitment to working with the UAE Gender Balance Council to achieve this goal and have announced a number of policy and programmatic efforts that will support in implementing the pledge and in creating more gender balanced workplaces.

The Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance in the UAE Private Sector was signed by local and multinational companies on 18th January, at a ceremony organised by the UAE Gender Balance Council, in collaboration with the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre.

Shamsa Saleh, Secretary-General of the UAE Gender Balance Council, affirmed that the UAE believes in the important role of partnerships, saying, "The pledge signed by 18 local and international companies is the result of two years of collaboration between the public and private sectors. The goal of these companies to raise the percentage of women in leadership positions goes beyond the local scale as many of these organisations are multinational companies, and so we are certain that these important actions will spread positive impact beyond the UAE."

"This initiative is part of the UAE Gender Balance Council’s framework and efforts, led by H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to promote gender balance across sectors and build strategic partnerships both locally and abroad. Many initiatives have been implemented to accelerate the achievement of SDG5, which is reflected in the UAE’s leading position regionally and advanced ranking in global indicators in gender balance," she added.

"The pledge includes four main pillars: equal pay and fair compensation; gender equitable recruitment and promotion; gender mainstreaming in policies and programmes; and transparency through data sharing," she concluded.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer at Majid Al Futtaim, said, "We work in line with the UAE government’s vision to accelerate the nation’s development journey, boost the country’s economy and build towards a workspace that values and develops balanced gender roles. Therefore, we have committed to a series of initiatives focused on the professional advancement of local talent, one of which is our devotion to recruit 3,000 Emiratis seeking to build their careers in the private sector in the next 5 years. We have also committed to a gender diversity target for women to constitute 30 percent of board members and senior management roles in the next 5 years."

Huda Buhumaid, Chief Marketing Officer of Dubai Holding, said, "As Gender Equality continues to be an integral part of the UAE’s social fabric and a key national priority for our leadership, we at Dubai Holding are inspired by and driven to emulate our young nation’s progress on gender balance. In line with the SDG5 efforts and national priorities, we have adopted a gender-lens approach to nurturing talent across the group through an inclusive culture and policies that support a gender-balanced workplace, as well as critical policy changes across our groupwide businesses that cover 10 sectors with over 20,000 employees."

For his side, Luay Al Shurafa, President and Managing Director, GM Africa & Middle East, expressed the company’s honour to sign the SDG 5 Pledge, and has congratulated the UAE government for spearheading the conversation and encouraging businesses to drive forward gender-parity reforms, saying, "We aim to become the most inclusive company in the world by leading with transparency and accountability, as well as a strong internal culture and gender equitable workplace practices. For more than ten years, GM AMEO has and continues to develop and promote future female leadership and talent. Today, 31 percent of our leadership positions are occupied by women, across our offices, as we continue to maintain equal opportunities across genders led by our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion oversight committee."

Olivia Bellingham, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa at Mastercard, said, "An equal world is a more inclusive world, and Mastercard remains committed to wholeheartedly support the journey to gender balance with all our resources, technology, and the power of our network. Every time we embrace a chance to include and celebrate diversity, is an opportunity in which we keep momentum to effect change and create a better world.

"Gender equality is one of the key pillars for Mastercard across the Middle East and wider region, as we strive to ensure gender equality within our organisation, as well as unlock the female economy and empower women entrepreneurs. Public-private partnerships such as this one play a key part in this journey, enabling us to further accelerate this mission," she added.

Patrick Higgins, People and Organisation Director at Mars Middle East and Africa, said, "This pledge is a testament to the progress the UAE has made to promote gender balance across the nation. We at Mars are very proud to partner with the Gender Balance Council on this initiative to drive a shared agenda to advance female representation in senior and middle management. Our strategic focus to unlock opportunities for women and advance gender equality is driven by our belief in the exceptional value that more diverse teams bring in our business. Our emphasis on gender diversity can be found in our policies, our flexible work culture, and our associate concept which is one thing that is unique about Mars. Our aim is to reach a 40/60 ratio by 2025 across all levels of our organization and especially at our leadership levels, which will be a catalyst for further diversifying our entire organisation. We believe that having a diverse organisation drives innovation, entrepreneurship, better decision making and ensures we are more connected to our consumers. We believe this is essential for success in the UAE and beyond."

Meanwhile, Ahmed Khashan, President of Gulf Countries at Schneider Electric, said, "At Schneider Electric, gender balance is a top priority for us, both locally and globally. As a company, we take pride in the way we nurture an inclusive culture where both women and men are empowered, appreciated, and, most importantly, valued in the organisation. Gender balance is key to how we run our business and it is why we have such a diverse and inclusive team that is dedicated to bringing our energy-efficient and sustainable technologies to the world."

Sanjiv Kakkar, Executive Vice-President of Unilever MENA, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus & Turkey, said, "At Unilever, ensuring the diversity of our workforce is a top priority resulting in an increase from 21.8 percent (2014) to 43.4 percent (2021) of women in management roles in the UAE. Our commitment to ensuring the diversity of our workforce has seen it integrated into our business strategies, talent acquisition, talent development, and retention practices and processes."

Rachid Fergati, Managing Director, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia at UPS, said, "We strive to ensure that our internal culture is one that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion. We are an advocate for gender parity and women’s equality at the workplace, and are proud to leverage our resources and expertise to drive women economic empowerment. As part of UPS’s commitment to advancing a sustainable and inclusive trade agenda, we are supporting the entry of women entrepreneurs into the international trade arena through the UPS’s Women Exporters Program. We are honored to sign the pledge to accelerate gender balance in the UAE's private sector. We look forward to furthering the vision of UAE’s Gender Balance Council to drive economic and social prosperity in the country, and create a lasting impact for the community."


WAM/ئ /Lina ibrahim