42 UAE-listed companies now have women board members

The SCA made it mandatory for listed companies to have at least one women board member in March

Image used for illustrative purpose. Women in business meeting in Middle East office.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Women in business meeting in Middle East office.

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More of than one third of UAE-based listed companies have so far complied with the norm to have at least one female board member.

A mandate was made in March 2021 in the weeks after International Women’s Day, and of 111 UAE-based listed companies, 19 companies have since complied, bringing the total number that have a woman board member to 42, according to social enterprise Aurora50. 

The remaining 69 companies are to appoint at least one woman board member, either at board member elections in Q1 2022, or prior to that if a board member resigns, or if a new chair is added, Aurora50 said. This new mandate was made by the UAE stock market regulator the Security & Commodities Authority’s (SCA) in March 2021. 

Aurora50 is hosting its second Board Summit next month to encourage boards to make diverse appointments, not just to achieve targets, but due to the positive impact of board diversity, the enterprise said in a press release.

The UAE ranked first in the Arab World and 18th globally in the Gender Inequality Index (GII) of the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2020, up eight places from 2019.

Diana Wilde, CEO and co-founder of Aurora50 said: “Board diversity should be a priority for every organisation. It is proven that companies with diverse boards outperform their peers. At Aurora50, we champion diversity because we have witnessed how these changes are positively impacting the competitiveness of companies in the UAE and beyond. 

“We are here to provide evidence-based perspectives and advice companies on how they can engage highly competent women and increase diversity on boards.”

Zawya reported on gender diversity on UAE boards earlier this year and found that companies that had already appointed female board members included ADNOC, Aramex, Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Dubai National Insurance and Reinsurance (DNIR).

The Board Summit is supported by the SCA, the UAE Central Bank, Etisalat, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Ports, Tabreed and Nasdaq, and will take place on September 20-22.

(Writing by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)


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