UAE attends OECD forum on gender equality

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The UAE Gender Balance Council participated in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) forum on 'Gender Equality: Navigating Global Transitions', held in Paris.

The two-day event explored strategies to advance gender equality amidst global shifts in sustainability, energy, climate and the rapid pace of digital transformation.

Participants emphasised the importance of collaboration and development to ensure gender equality in the digital era as well as in the area of sustainable initiatives.

Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, attended 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, programmes, initiatives and advanced technology can help bridge gender gaps and ensure effective budgeting for enhancing green and digital agendas alongside gender balance initiatives.

Al Marri underscored the UAE Gender Balance Council's commitment, led by Her Highness 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, and also highlighted efforts to increase women's participation in leadership and decision-making roles.

The session featured an impressive lineup 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.

Advanced technology and sustainability

Al Marri pointed out that the UAE has fostered an environment conducive to women’s participation and leadership in green and digital transformations through various policies and initiatives.

The UAE's comprehensive strategy focuses on enhancing Emirati women's empowerment and gender balance across multiple sectors, including the green and digital economy.

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 initiative is a global guide to help governments, the private sector and academia effectively achieve gender balance and create a more equitable future.

The UAE government has also launched the 'National Programme 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 programmes, with women constituting 56 per cent of public university graduates in these fields.

Al Marri stressed that women's representation in leadership positions in these areas is crucial for attracting more women to these fields. Currently, women comprise about 29 per cent of ministerial portfolios in the UAE government, reflecting a high level of female representation.

Recognition programmes

During her speech, Mona Al Marri emphasised the importance of recognising institutions that integrate gender balance policies into their strategies.

She highlighted the UAE's National Gender Balance Index, an annual recognition programme that honours individuals and entities that support gender balance nationwide.

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, was also highlighted.

This pledge commits to increasing women's participation in leadership roles to 30 per cent by 2025.

Al Marri stressed that the UAE actively enhances data collection and analysis on gender gaps in various fields, including the green and digital sectors. This data is vital for measuring progress and helping decision-makers implement effective policies to promote gender balance.

Gender Responsive Budgeting

Addressing the critical measures needed to ensure budget effectiveness in advancing green and digital transformations alongside gender balance, Al Marri emphasised that incorporating gender balance into budgets positively addresses women's needs and requirements.

She highlighted the importance of allocating funds to educate women in STEM fields and train them as leaders in green industries, thereby creating gender-inclusive budgets. At the national level, the UAE Gender Balance Council, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, has been working on a gender-responsive budget project.

Cooperation with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

On the forum's sidelines, Al Marri met with Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD.

They discussed opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the UAE Gender Balance Council and the OECD, building on their 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.


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