UAE private sector pledges to put more women in leadership roles by 2025

A group of 18 leading local and multinational private sector companies from diverse sectors in the UAE signed a pledge on 18 January to achieve gender equality and empower women in work. The pledge aims to increase gender balance in the workplace, with an emphasis on increasing the representation of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2025.

Companies that signed the pledge include Majid Al Futtaim Holding, Masdar, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Dubai Holding, Unilever, Standard Chartered Bank, MasterCard, Michelin, UPS, General Motors, Schneider Electric, PepsiCo, Mondelez International, BASF, Mars, Nestle and General Mills.

Each of the signatories committed to taking key actions before 2025 to strengthen gender balance in leadership positions, including by: ensuring equal pay and fair compensation; promoting gender equitable recruitment and promotion; mainstreaming gender balance through policies and programmes; and being transparent about progress with fellow signatories and government.

“The UAE is highly committed to the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 and has integrated them into its strategic plans, and prioritised them in its local and international partnerships,” said Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and President of Dubai Women Establishment.

“The UAE Gender Balance Council also launched a host of local and global initiatives to accelerate the implementation of SDG5 (Gender Equality), in cooperation with government entities and international organisations.”

These efforts have enhanced the country’s rankings in global competitiveness reports on women and gender balance. It climbed to the 18th place globally in gender equality in a report issued by the United Nations Development Programme.

“We have witnessed other notable successes, which include ranking first in Middle East and North Africa in the ‘Women, Business and the Law’ 2021 report issued by the World Bank, and first in the Arab world in the Global Gender Gap Report 2021, issued by the World Economic Forum, as well as successfully ranking first globally in nine competitive indicators related to the progress in achieving the fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2021,” said Sheikha Manal.

Mona Al Marri, Vice-President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and Chairperson of the Global Council on SDG5, said the Covid-19 pandemic had demonstrated the need to work together to come up with innovative solutions to some complex challenges.

“It has also demonstrated the extent to which women are affected by crises,” she said. “There are real gender gaps in leadership positions across the world, with women occupying only 22% of CEO-level leadership positions. We need to escalate efforts to increase the number of women in senior and middle management roles, as more women in leadership means stronger organisational performance and thriving economies.”

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