DUBAI, 11th February, 2019 (WAM) — Panelists in the session on ‘Women in Public Administration’, part of the Women in Government Forum taking place at the World Government Summit (WGS) being held in Dubai from 10-12 February, discussed ways of increasing the participation of women in the public sector.
Panelists featured in the session included Ohood Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing and Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office; Maria Manual Leitao Marques, Minister of the Presidency and of Modernization, Portuguese Republic; Suzana Pribilovic, Minister of Public Administration, Montenegro; and Gleam Davis, Mayor of Santa Monica, USA.
Al Roumi said that women represent more than 62% of the workforce in the UAE government, 70% of Prime Minister’s Office employees, and 30% of the UAE cabinet. Globally, women only account for 23% of the public sector workforce, Al Roumi said, adding that some reports suggest that it will take 200 years to bridge the gender gap.
She also said to have more women in leadership positions we need to create more female role models. She added that what matters is to have diversity and fair representation of the society. Al Roumi highlighted as well the importance of attracting talents to work for government.
Al Roumi welcomed hosting a community of world government leaders to set an agenda to improve the possibilities for next generation of women in government.
Davis said that private-public partnerships are key to empower women to attain leadership positions. She said that having more women in higher positions will lead to create pressure on the private sector to appoint more women to leadership positions as to deal with governments enterprises need to reflect the government. Davis also highlighted the importance of creating a system that is friendly to women to attract them to the sector. She cited initiatives such as family and kids care programmes as key. However, women should understand that there are many ways to influence policies, not only through senior leadership positions.
Leitao Marques said that it is important to create and improve conditions to attract and retain women in the government sector. She said that work-life balance is a key challenge for women to have leadership positions.
Panelists’ consensus was that within the next decade there will more gender balance and equitable opportunities of women at all level of employment within the government sectors.