UAE Passes Equal Pay Legislation To Narrow Gender Gap
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In a move that's certainly a boost for gender parity, the UAE Cabinet has approved the issuance of legislation ensuring men and women are paid equal pay wage and given equal opportunities, furthering the empowerment of the nation's women. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai said via Twitter, "The Council of Ministers drafted the first legislation of its kind for equality in salaries and wages between the sexes. With the force of law, we do not want any exception in providing equal opportunities for both sexes." He added, "Our Constitution is of equal rights and duties of the sexes and we seek to elaborate, enforce and guarantee this constitutional right through the new law."
In the 2017 World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap report, the UAE ranked 120 out of 144 countries globally, but it was still making small strides to close the gender gap, opposing the global trend in areas such as health, education, politics and the workplace for women.
Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue commented on its alignment to UAE government's belief in the significant role by women in the national development. It echoes the Strategy for the Empowerment of Emirati Women 2015–2021, launched by H.H. 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).
To note, the UAE has also previously taken steps towards gender parity. The country has appointed eight women to its cabinet, eight women in the Federal National Council and other government entities, with women in leadership roles in the public and private sector. In 2017, the UAE launched the Gender Balance Guide for the workplace to lessen the gender gap in the country's private and public institutions. Developed with the OECD, the guide touches on HR management tools, policy guidelines and performance structures, as well as tips for promoting work-life balance, and equal pay and job opportunities. In 2015, the UAE Gender Balance Council was launched, a federal entity working to "enhance the role of women in all fields."
It's worth watching as the nation takes steps for its aim to be one of the world's top 25 countries for gender equality by 2012. The bill would be presented to the country's advisory Federal National Council for final approval.