Achieving greater gender balance in the UAE is an important national priority, says Manal bint Mohammed

DUBAI, 11th February, 2018 (WAM) — Achieving greater gender balance across all sectors in the UAE is an important national priority, which is strongly supported by our wise leadership and government, said H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and wife of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, said at the Gender Responsive Budgeting Panel at 2018 World Government Summit in Dubai.

”Incorporating gender into financial and economic policy has long been identified as a key enabler to reduce gender disparities, which is why we participated in this panel to exchange expertise and opinions, and identify the best standards and practices in implementing gender responsive budgeting around the world,” Sheikha Manal stated.

In line with its commitment to reduce the gender gap across all sectors and establish the country as a benchmark for gender balance and legislation, the UAE Gender Balance Council participated in a panel discussion during the 2018 World Government Summit today, which explored the role of innovative gender responsive budgeting in governments. The session was also attended by the UAE Ministry of Finance, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and UN Women.

Gender responsive budgeting helps governments to assess how economic and financial resources are allocated in gender equal or unequal ways. This analysis facilitates the application of gender balance policies from a financial aspect and the distribution of funds to achieve policy goals.

H.H. continued: “Following the second edition of our Global Gender Circles initiative, focused on the same topic, we were delighted to collaborate once again with the IMF, which has extensive experience in implementing gender responsive budgeting across a number of member countries. We were also pleased to work with the UAE Ministry of Finance, OECD and UN Women for this session. The panel discussion provided a platform for international gender experts and thought leaders to explore how fiscal policies can be instrumental in promoting female advancement and empowerment.”

The session was opened by Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, and Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the OECD. Panelists included Younis Haji Al Khouri, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Finance, Lisa Kolovich, Economist at the IMF, Marcos Bortuni, Director for Public Governance at the OECD, and Zohra Khan, Policy Advisor at UN Women.

Al Marri, said: “The World Government Summit is a prestigious platform, from which numerous local, regional and international initiatives have emerged, including the UAE Gender Balance Council itself, an entity mandated to develop and implement the local gender agenda, which has a strong influence worldwide. In just three years, the UAE Gender Balance Council has created a lasting, positive impact on both a local and regional level by introducing a range of initiatives to reduce the gender gap across all sectors, and we’re incredibly proud of the significant progress that’s been made in such a short space of time.”

Al Marri continued: “Today, in the presence of representatives from the UAE Ministry of Finance, IMF, OECD and UN Women, we explored a new discussion about the role of gender responsive budgeting in governments – a crucial and innovative approach to promoting gender balance around the world. We are pleased with the outcomes of the session, which provided an opportunity to examine the practices and standards implemented by governments worldwide in this field, and benefit from their experiences.”

Christine Lagarde, commented: “Innovative gender budgeting can make a real difference in the lives of both women and men while strengthening the economy and society. I am delighted that the UAE is exploring how to make gender budgeting work. The Fund stands ready to support all our member countries in these important efforts.”

Angel Gurria, added: “To become a reality, gender equality needs to be fully mainstreamed in policy making. Tools such as gender budgeting offer an important opportunity for levelling the playing field across gender, both in the economy and in society”.

Younis Al Khouri, said: “The UAE, where women have the same constitutional rights as men, has made significant progress in enhancing gender balance on both social and economic levels. The country has successfully established itself as a role model for the advancement of women, in line with the National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women 2015-2021, which was launched to develop the capabilities of Emirati women and strengthen their participation in economic and political fields, as well as society. The UAE currently has 9 female ministers representing 29.5% of ministerial roles, reflecting the trust that the country places in female leadership.”

He added: “At the Ministry of Finance, we are proud of our female employees, who work as vital partners in the development and implementation of the UAE’s financial policies. The Ministry’s female leaders are characterised by their exceptional performance and key contribution to financial government work.”

Zohra Khan, said: “Women have made great advances in the UAE in terms of education, employment and leadership, but no country has successfully closed the gender gap. Public policies are powerful tools in addressing these gaps. Gender responsive fiscal policy can address the lack of social infrastructure for women engaging in employment, such as childcare, and introduce tax policies that incentivise women’s employment. Well-designed gender budgets can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire budget process, with positive results for women and girls.”

Gender responsive budgeting was one of the key recommendations outlined in the Council’s ‘Gender Balance Guide: Actions for UAE Organisations’, a comprehensive resource developed in collaboration with the OECD to advance gender balance across public and private entities in the UAE. It was also highlighted during the Council’s first Global Gender Circle – an initiative launched to enhance women’s economic empowerment through providing a dynamic platform for thought leaders from across the world to exchange ideas and develop progressive solutions.

Drawing on both of these recommendations, the UAE Gender Balance Council organised a second Global Gender Circle focused on this topic in 2017, held in collaboration with the IMF.


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