By Sam Bridge
Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, hails improvement in ranking
The UAE has jumped 23 places in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2019 Gender Inequality Index, ranking first in the Arab world and 26th globally.
In a series of tweets, Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said: "I am proud of this accomplishment which emphasises our ability to participate in further defining the future on the world stage."
In comments also published by state news agency WAM, she said a clear goal was set by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, when establishing the UAE Gender Balance Council in 2015 - to place the UAE among the world's top 25 countries in the field of gender balance by 2021.
"We are committed to continue our efforts with our partners to achieve this goal," she said, adding: "Achieving this ranking on a renowned global report would not have been possible without the support of our wise leadership and the cooperation of all ministries and institutions to make the Emirati experience in gender balance a model to be followed regionally and internationally."
Globally, the top five positions in the rankings were Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany and Hong Kong while the bottom five were Burundi, South Sudan , Chad, Central African Republic and Niger.
The Gender Inequality Index is an index for measurement of gender disparity that was introduced in the 2010 Human Development Report by the UNDP.
It measures gender inequalities in three important aspects of human development - reproductive health, empowerment, and economic status.
Last year, the UAE Cabinet approved the issuance of legislation to ensure equal pay for men and women working in the country.
The Law on Equal Wages and Salaries for Men and Women aims to ensure that women have equal opportunities as partners in the UAE’s development, and to further empower women to lead future national strategies and ambitious projects.