The UAE enjoys the highest gender parity in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, surpassing Israel, according to World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023 released on Wednesday.

The other top regional countries in terms of gender parity are Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Qatar and Egypt.

Globally, the UAE was ranked 71st in the latest report as against 60 last year.

The UAE and Egypt have registered increases in both the share of women's senior officer positions and the share of women in technical positions.

As regards to parity in the number of seats in national parliaments, the UAE along with Mexico, Nicaragua, Rwanda and New Zealand enjoy full parity.

Globally, gender parity globally has recovered to pre-Covid-19 levels, but the pace of change has stagnated as converging crises slow progress, the report said.

Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world for the 14th consecutive year and the only country to have closed more than 90 per cent of its gender gap. While no country has yet achieved full gender parity. The top nine ranking countries are Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Nicaragua, Namibia, Lithuania and Belgium.

“While there have been encouraging signs of recovery to pre-pandemic levels, women continue to bear the brunt of the current cost of living crisis and labour market disruptions,” said Saadia Zahidi, managing director, World Economic Forum.

“An economic rebound requires the full power of creativity and diverse ideas and skills. We cannot afford to lose momentum on women’s economic participation and opportunity,” she added.

In comparison to other regions, Mena remains the furthest away from parity, with a 62.6 per cent score. This is a 0.9 per cent decline in parity since the last edition for this region, based on the constant sample of countries covered since 2006.

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