The UAE Gender Balance Council announced that six additional local and multinational companies have joined the SDG 5 Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance in the UAE Private Sector. The Pledge was signed during a ceremony attended by Her Excellency Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and Chairperson of the Global Council on SDG 5 (Gender Equality); Her Excellency Hanan Ahli, Acting Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre as well as a government officials and representatives from Coca‑Cola, DP World, Kearney, KPMG, Danone and VFS Global.
The pledge encourages stronger and more sustainable gender balance at the company level, with an emphasis on increasing the representation of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2025 through policy, programme, and strategic actions. In January 2022, 17 private sector companies signed the Pledge, bringing the total number of companies to 23.
Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment, and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, stated that women’s participation in decision-making roles is encouraged across all sectors, and has called on more companies to join this important Pledge.
Her Highness also commended the private sector companies for joining this voluntary initiative, which reflects the unique partnership between the government and private sector in the UAE to achieve the national goals and a future vision by the wise leadership that will enable the country to be an international role model and a leading global economy in the next fifty years. Her Highness stressed on the pivotal role of the private sector in supporting the government’s efforts to enhance the UAE’s global competitiveness.
Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum thanked the companies that signed the pledge and said: "This is a step that reflects the unwavering support and commitment of the private sector to the country's directions and strategic objectives in achieving sustainable development goals, which in turn contributes to achieving global prosperity.”
At the start of the signing ceremony, Her Excellency Mona Al Marri welcomed companies that joined the pledge and stated that it is a significant step in achieving gender balance in the country as it complements the progress made in both the public and private sectors. Her Excellency praised the company’s quick actions which enabled the pledge to be signed in record time, and is the result of several years of joint work between government and private sector institutions with the aim of inspiring innovative techniques to increase the effective role of women in leadership roles in the UAE private sector. Her Excellency added: “This is a collective effort that we will work on together to gradually promote gender balance, from middle management to the highest levels of leadership.”
Tolga Cebe, Vice President & General Manager Middle East, The Coca‑Cola Company added: “We are honored to be a part of this pledge and to support and contribute to the UAE’s gender balance vision. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of The Coca‑Cola Company values and are key priorities both at a global and local level. We proudly invest in programs and partnerships to recruit and develop diverse talent, foster an inclusive culture and equitable practices in our workplace, and work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the communities we serve. Our current ratio of women in mid to senior level roles in the UAE is at 32% and I am proud to be part of an ecosystem that invests in, nurtures and continues to provide opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders. Our aim is not only to maintain and improve gender balance but to continue to provide better opportunities for women in the UAE.”
He added: “Empowered women make a difference, especially in leadership and decision-making roles. Beyond promoting gender equality – empowering women creates potential, unlocks new growth, and contributes towards a more equitable and prosperous future.”
This pledge is the result of the tireless efforts of the UAE’s Private Sector Advisory Council on SDGs in collaboration with the UAE’s National Committee on SDGs, as well as the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre and the UAE Gender Balance Council over the past two years. In 2019, a focus group was organised for the government and private sectors to exchange ideas on how to promote gender balance and sustainable development in the UAE, and to highlight the importance of ensuring the equal participation of women in leadership positions in the private sector.