The UAE has topped the Middle East and North Africa region rankings in the World Bank’s newly released 2021 ‘Women, Business and the Law’ (WBL) report. The country’s ratings in the World Bank report saw a significant leap by virtue of ground-breaking legislative reforms implemented over the past few years.
Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said the massive strides made by the UAE in the latest report are the result of new laws and more than 20 legislative reforms focused on enhancing women’s economic participation. Sheikha Manal said these achievements are significant additions to the UAE’s scientific, economic and social accomplishments that are set to propel the country’s accelerated progress in the next fifty years.
Her Highness stressed that the UAE’s successes in promoting gender balance have been driven by the unwavering support of the UAE’s leadership, which has been committed to ensure women have equal opportunities to contribute to the nation’s sustainable development. Right from the country’s foundation in 1971, the leadership granted equal rights to women and worked tirelessly to protect women’s freedoms and rights, and to remove all barriers to their advancement. Their vision inspired all stakeholders to work together to raise women’s participation in every sphere of life, she noted.
Sheikha Manal extended her thanks to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Force; and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, 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), for their steadfast commitment to women’s empowerment and advancement, and their dedication to increasing women’s representation and active participation across sectors.
The Eight Indicators
The UAE’s scores in the ‘Women, Business and the Law’ report saw marked increases as a result of legislative reforms related to women’s economic participation enacted over the last three years. Considered one of the most significant global indexes that analyses laws and regulations affecting women’s economic inclusion in 190 economies, the annual report is composed of eight indicators structured around women’s interactions with the law as they begin, progress through, and end their careers. The indicators are: Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension.
Over the past three years, the UAE amended more than 20 legal provisions related to employee benefits such as equal pay for equal value, parental leave, prohibition on firing pregnant women, and equal access to credit.
In the 2021 ‘Women, Business and the Law’ report, the UAE achieved 82.5 points out of a total of 100 points, compared to 56 points in the 2020 edition and 29 points in the 2019 edition. The UAE also achieved a full score (100 points) in five indicators in the latest report: Movement, Workplace, Wages, Entrepreneurship, and Pension.
Her Highness Sheikha Manal stated that such an achievement is the result of the teamwork and comprehensive efforts made by the UAE Gender Balance Council, the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC), the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and the UAE Central Bank to constantly review gender-inclusive legislation to enhance its positive impact on women’s economic empowerment. Over the past five years, these UAE organisations have forged strategic partnerships with the World Bank to identify opportunities for progress and develop comprehensive initiatives to raise women’s role in national development.