UAE’s efforts to increase women’s participation in decision making roles highlighted at Paris forum

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Mona Ghanem Al Marri speaking at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Forum on “Gender Equality: Navigating Global Transitions”, held in Paris.
Image Credit: DMO

Dubai: The UAE Gender Balance Council (UAE GBC) participated in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Forum on “Gender Equality: Navigating Global Transitions”, held in Paris on June 10 and 11.

This vital forum brought together leaders and experts from governments, the private sector, international organisations, and civil society from around the globe.

The forum explored strategies to advance gender equality amidst global shifts in sustainability, energy, climate, and the rapid pace of digital transformation. Over the course of two dynamic days, the forum discussed the unique challenges and opportunities related to gender balance. Innovative strategies and policies were explored, emphasising the importance of collaboration and development to ensure gender equality in the digital era as well as in the area of sustainable initiatives.

Harnessing government tools and data

Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, participated in the OECD session on “Leveraging Government Tools and Data for Inclusive Global Transitions.” This session delved into how governments can adapt to green and digital transformations to achieve gender equality and overcome related challenges. It highlighted the obstacles and opportunities these transitions present, offering practical steps governments can take. Key topics covered in the discussions included how policies, programs, initiatives, and advanced technology can help bridge gender gaps and ensure effective budgeting for enhancing green and digital agendas alongside gender balance initiatives.

The session featured an impressive line-up of speakers, including Michelle Bachelet, Former President of Chile, Elsa Pilichowski, Director of Public Governance at OECD; Elisabeth Baume-Schneider, Federal Councillor of Switzerland; Renata Vargas Amaral, Secretary for International Affairs and Development, Ministry of Planning and Budget, Brazil (G20); Young Tae Kim, Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum; María del Pilar Garrido Gonzalo, Director for Development Cooperation at OECD; and Susan Snider, Vice-President of Strategy, Innovation, and Impact at Equality Fund. British TV presenter and journalist Femi Oke expertly moderated the discussion.

Green economy

Mona Al Marri underscored the UAE Gender Balance Council’s commitment, led by Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to forge impactful global partnerships. She emphasised the UAE’s dedication to advancing gender balance globally, particularly in technology, environment, sustainability, and the green economy. She also highlighted efforts to increase women’s participation in leadership and decision-making roles, aligning with the UAE’s significant contributions to international sustainable development goals.

She also highlighted the “Framework for Gender Balance in the 4th Industrial Revolution” initiative launched by the UAE Gender Balance Council. Developed in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, this pioneering initiative is a global guide to help governments, the private sector, and academia effectively achieve gender balance and create a more equitable future.

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UAE delegation at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Forum on “Gender Equality: Navigating Global Transitions”, held in Paris
Image Credit: DMO

Bridging the gap

She discussed the UAE’s efforts to bridge gaps in the technology, green transformation, and sustainability sectors. The government has launched the “National Program for Coders,” which aims to build the capabilities of 100 Emirati women in artificial intelligence technologies. Additionally, the “ Women in Sustainability, Environment, and Renewable Energy (WiSER)” initiative supports talented women and prepares them to become sustainability and renewable energy leaders. Over 100 women from 30 nationalities have graduated from this initiative, and an annual forum is held to encourage innovative solutions for female sustainability leaders. The UAE boasts one of the highest rates of female enrollment in STEM majors and programs, with women constituting 56% of public university graduates in these fields.

During her speech, she emphasised the importance of recognising institutions that integrate gender balance policies into their strategies. Such recognition is crucial in inspiring other organisations to do the same. She highlighted the UAE’s National Gender Balance Index, an annual recognition program that honours individuals and entities that support gender balance nationwide. She also mentioned the “SDG 5 Pledge to Accelerate Women’s Leadership in the UAE Private Sector” initiative, signed by over 64 international and local institutions across various economic sectors. This pledge commits to increasing women’s participation in leadership roles to 30% by 2025.

On the forum’s sidelines, Mona Al Marri met with Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD. They discussed new opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the UAE Gender Balance Council and the OECD, building on their cooperative relationship since the Council’s inception in 2015. Key initiatives include the launch of The Gender Balance Guide, featuring globally applicable tools to enhance women’s participation, and their collaboration with the Global Council for Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals to develop a toolkit for advanced global gender balance practices. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining close relations and advancing efforts to enhance gender balance regionally and globally.