UAE issues new guidelines to close gender gap in workplace

UAE Gender Balance Council's move comes as report says only 17% of exec roles are held by women
UAE issues new guidelines to close gender gap in workplace
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Staff writer
Mon 13 Feb 2017 02:01 PM

The UAE Gender Balance Council has launched a comprehensive set of guidelines and concrete actions aimed at helping UAE organisations adopt a gender-sensitive approach at their workplace.

The official launch of the Gender Balance Guide took place at the World Government Summit currently being held in Dubai and a consultation phase will follow in the coming months to collect the suggestions of concerned organisations, a statement said.

The launch comes on the heels of a report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Middle East that said women represent only 2 percent of board positions across the Gulf region and only account for only 17 percent of all executive roles in the UAE.

Developed in strategic collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Gender Balance Guide provides benchmarks to enhance gender balance within decision-making positions, promote women-friendly working environments and embed gender balance within the policy framework.

Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, president of the Dubai Women Establishment, said: “The Gender Balance Guide is yet another key initiative of the Gender Balance Council that supports the UAE’s vision for enhancing women’s role as key partners and contributors in building the future of our nation.

"This initiative further strengthens our efforts to reduce the gender gap across all sectors, enhance the UAE’s ranking in global competitiveness reports on gender equality and achieve gender balance in decision-making positions, as well as promote the UAE as a model for gender balance.”

In 2016, the Council launched the UAE Gender Balance Program, a framework to review legislations and national policies that support women, which has been in effect since last November. Its efforts led to the UAE government introducing legislative amendments to extend the maternity leave for Federal Government employees to three months paid leave.

Mona Al Marri, vice president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said: “This important new initiative is closely aligned with the UAE Vision 2021’s aim to enhance the participation of women in the economy.”

The guide includes human resource management tools, good practice guidelines and indicators, as well as policy-making guidelines and recommendations for governmental and private institutions to enhance gender-balanced representation and leadership.

It also recommends steps to promote work-life balance, family-friendly work practices and women’s leadership development as well as gender impact assessment, and gender budgeting as well as highlighting policies, practices and measures to promote the flexibility, transparency, and fairness of public and private employment systems.

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