Ladies and gentleman,
Let me begin by extending my deepest gratitude to everyone joining in today’s dialogue. The presence of the women decision-makers gathered here today underlines the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment in achieving our shared goal of sustainable development.
As we work towards implementing the 2030 Agenda, it is critical that we examine how our institutional arrangements promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. We must ensure that decision-making includes women-leaders and that policy action and budgeting reflect gender considerations that benefit all women and girls.
The UAE firmly believes the rights, duties, and opportunities afforded to all of its citizens serve as a critical element in supporting sustainable development. Since our nation’s founding, a key component of the UAE’s development strategy has been the engagement of women in the workforce, and as decision-makers at the highest levels. The UAE cabinet now comprises 8 female ministers, reflecting our nations’ strong commitment to gender equality and the participation of women at all levels and on priority domestic files.
Our government has also institutionalized women’s participation in our legislature and judiciary with the understanding that this a prerequisite to creating functional and just societies.
We have created a number national institutions and mechanisms dedicated to empowering women.
The UAE’s National Strategy for the Advancement of Women was established by our first lady, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, thirteen years ago. This action plan prioritizes the participation of women in the national development process in both the public and private sectors, and strengthens the concept of gender equality in policies, programs, and legislation. We launched an updated strategy in March of last year, which, after thorough review, is now addressing the obstacles that block women’s full participation in society.
In 2012, the government passed a law mandating women’s representation on the boards of state-owned companies and government agencies, making the UAE one of the first Arab countries to implement such a law. And last year, the UAE formed a Gender Balance Council that focuses on tackling legislative reforms to further gender equality domestically.
We acknowledge that this is a continuous process and there is still work to be done, but through these policies and programs, our national institutions are working towards the promotion and achievement of gender equality at all levels.
We firmly believe that achieving gender equality is fundamental to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. As such, the UAE will continue to uphold the empowerment of women as both a critical component of our nation’s development model, and as a necessary condition for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Thank you for allowing me to share some of the best practices from my country’s national experience. I look forward to hearing about how nations are working to implement gender considerations into their national institutions.