Jihene Arfaoui, In-house Legal advisor, Women News Agency Ambassador
The United Arab Emirates believes that the economic empowerment of women is a true supporter of the push towards community development and the sustainability of financial and cultural wealth.
The last fifty years have witnessed several enlightening stations in terms of the rights acquired by women in the UAE introduced by the UAE legislator in clear and direct legal provisions and the agencies have prepared the way for them to implement and enter them into force. Perhaps the most prominent of these is the entry into force of the Decree on Amending some provisions of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 on Regulating Labor Relations on February 2, 2022, which was promulgated by the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The new amendment stipulates equal pay for women and men in the private sector.
In the text of the Law, it was stated: "A woman shall be given a remuneration equal to that of a man if she performs the same work, or another of equal value."
This step came as a continuation of several steps towards blurring the features of gender-based discrimination, notably in the field of private work, which is an effective and influential economic force in the United Arab Emirates, where discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, social origin, or disability is prohibited, which would undermine equal opportunities or prejudice equality in obtaining or continuing in a job as well as in enjoying its rights. Likewise, the employer is prohibited from discriminating in jobs with the same job tasks.
The UAE Gender Balance Council
The UAE Gender Balance Council celebrates its seventh anniversary. In February 2015, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the establishment of the The UAE Gender Balance Council.
The Council is a federal entity chaired by the wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Women's Establishment. It targets to reduce the gender gap in all sectors of the State, in order to achieve equal opportunities for men and women to participate in the sustainable development process, achieve the State’s vision and locally, regionally and internationally influence on discrimination and create the basis for gender balance. The Emirates Council for Gender Balance seeks to:Reducing the gender gap in all sectors of the State.
Enhancing the State's position in the global competitiveness reports in the field of the gender gap.
Seeking to achieve gender balance in decision-making positions.
Classifying the United Arab Emirates globally as a role model in the issue of gender balance.
Considering the UAE as a reference for gender balance legislations
To promote these goals, the Council reviews current legislations, policies and programs, proposes new or updated legislation and programs to achieve gender balance in the field of work, recommends the enforcement of laws, regulations, decisions and international agreements related to gender balance in the field of work, in order to achieve non-discrimination against women and coordination with the federal and local authorities to fulfill the objectives of the Council.
It is worth noting that the diligent work of the UAE to reduce the gap between genders in the private and public spheres and its quest to achieve gender balance have contributed to the UAE's ranking in international reports, as the UAE ranked first in the Arab world in the Gender Gap Report 2021 (In English) issued by the World Economic Forum, and ranked first in the world in 4 sub-indicators within this Report:Parliamentary representation of women
Gender ratio at birth
Girls' enrollment rate in primary education
The UAE's performance in the Report rose to rank 72 globally in the general index of this global Report, advancing 48 places in one year, as it was ranked 120 globally in the last edition.
The Report reveals that the UAE is the best globally in representing women in parliament. Further, it has closed 71.6% of the gender equality gaps until the date of the Report, as the percentage of parliamentary representation for Emirati women today is 50% of the number of members of the Federal National Council and their ministerial representation in the State Government is 27.5%, which are higher than rates in the world.