DUBAI - The UAE has achieved a new global milestone in the field of gender balance by advancing to the seventh rank globally in the Gender Inequality Index 2024, issued by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), rising significantly from its 49th place in 2015 and 11th place in 2022.

The United Nations Development Programme announced this new global achievement of the UAE during the meetings of the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, being held until 22 March in New York. The UAE Gender Balance Council is participating in the event.

H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council (UAE GBC), wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, attributed the UAE’s global position in the field of gender balance to the wise leadership’s vision, and the continuous support extended by H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, (the Mother of the Nation), Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF).

Sheikha Manal said: “Our wise leadership’s profound commitment and support for gender balance and their eagerness to enhance women’s representation across economic, political, and social fields through pioneering legislation and initiatives have led made this exceptional achievement possible.”

“Improving the UAE’s ranking in global reports and indicators strengthens its position as a global and regional model for gender balance,” Her Highness stressed that the strong partnership between all state departments and the cooperation of the private sector have played key roles in this achievement.

H.H. highlighted the UAE's commitment to empowering women and giving them extensive opportunities to excel as indispensable partners in shaping the future. “Our wise leadership's belief in women's abilities and the supportive environment created for their success have propelled Emirati women to influential roles across vital sectors. Today, they are key decision-makers in pivotal sectors, supporting our nation's global leadership aspirations,” she noted.

Sheikha Manal said: "Thanks to the insightful vision of our wise leadership, women in the UAE have received considerable attention, propelling the nation to a prominent international position in gender balance."

She praised the pivotal role played by H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak in championing women's empowerment through numerous national programmes and targeted initiatives aimed at ensuring equitable opportunities in education, employment, and various other domains.

H.H. expressed her pride in the UAE government's commitment to supporting women. She pointed out that Emirati women continue to play a tangible and influential role in the country's development process, bolstered by the unlimited support of the wise leadership.

She reaffirmed the UAE Gender Balance Council's commitment to broadening its global partnerships, as part of its efforts to raise the nation's leading position and foster gender balance achievements not only regionally but also globally. Stressing the UAE's dedication to supporting international endeavours for sustainable development goals, she highlighted the Council's engagement in global forums as a crucial avenue for forging partnerships and sharing best practices in empowering women and promoting gender balance—a cornerstone for building inclusive and prosperous societies and economies.

H.H. said: “We place high priority on active participation in the meetings of the Committee on the Status of Women of the Economic and Social Council, which is one of the major international forums that the UAE attends annually. These meetings offer extensive opportunities to bolster the Council's partnerships, as they represent the largest annual gathering at the United Nations focused on gender balance, women's advancement, and empowerment. With the participation of representatives of Member States, United Nations entities, non-governmental organisations, experts, and advocates for women's empowerment, it serves as a vital platform for advancing global excellence in gender balance."

The UAE Gender Balance Council is actively participating in the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which is being held at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 11 to 22 March. An official UAE delegation headed by Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, which includes Hanan Ahli, Council Member, Managing Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC), participated in several events of the session and held important meetings and gatherings with representatives of various participating countries and officials of international organisations.

This year’s session of the Commission on the Status of Women is held under the slogan “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective”. The session is a vital platform to strengthen global partnerships and highlight the UAE’s achievements in gender balance, social and economic empowerment of women, and the nation’s international efforts to achieve sustainable development goals.

On the sidelines of the activities of the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Mona Al Marri met with Pedro Conceição, Director of the Human Development Report Office at the United Nations Development Programme. The two sides discussed potential cooperation and the Human Development Report for 2024.

Pedro Conceição praised the positive results of the Gender Balance Index in the UAE, terming it a model for government initiatives aimed at creating a work environment that supports gender balance. He congratulated the UAE on its remarkable progress and achievements in recent years in the field of gender balance, which reflect the leadership’s vision and political determination and strong commitment to advancing development, progress and social and economic prosperity. He noted that the UAE is an inspiring global model for gender balance.