Wednesday, October 20, 2021

UAE-Listed Firms To Compulsorily Add At Least One Woman On Board

The Securities and Commodities Authority of the United States has mandated all the publicly listed companies to have at least one woman in the panel of the board members. The move came in light amid increasing efforts to boost female participation in the business ecosystem of the UAE.

The decision by the authorities was praised by the President of Dubai Women Establishment, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

A Long Awaited Reform

This progression was a necessary step for empowering UAE women according to Sheikha Manal. She further added this decision is in synchronization with the leadership vision of UAE. She nodded in favor of the decision by affirming that this progression will bring out a positive and an enormous spectrum of benefits while positively impacting the economic and national growth and escalating the social-economic contribution of Emirati women. 

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Expansion of women representatives of UAE on the board of directors will offer great help to the country’s Gender Balance Council to fill in the gender gaps. Women representing themselves in higher and powerful positions having the authority of decision making will inevitably narrow down the gender gaps in every arena according to Sheikha Manal.

A helping hand to the economy of UAE- Women in Board

According to a statement issued by the Securities and Commodities Authority, this progress is lined up to let Emirati women indulge in the co-operative world and amuse themselves at greater roles in the listed companies. United Arab Emirates Central bank by now has given a green flag to a memorandum of understanding with Aurora50, a UAE-based civil organization that works in aiming well-balanced gender chambers in companies. The central bank has joined hands with Aurora50 in order to enhance the number of women employees for companies in both the public and private sectors. 

There are 84 board members in which at most only three are women at five significant companies which are indexed on the Abu Dhabi Securities and Dubai Financial Market PJSC. Chief executive officer of regulator Obaid Saif Al Zaabi said that they are now taking up the tasks of making women representatives mandatory. According to Aurora50, out of 110 listed organizations in the United Arab Emirates women only possess the boards of 28. 

For enhancing the number of women representatives sitting at the decision making position, the United Arab Of Emirates has laid down major initiatives, Sheikha Manal said this movement has made the United Arab Emirates the very first country in the Persian Gulf to subject and confine law enactments for authorizing women representatives on board of government organization. 

Reservations

According to Chief Distribution and Development Officer at Equitativa Racha Alkhawaja, the movement to make at least one woman representative on board of the listed organizations resides under the concept of quotas. She further said that quotas are necessary at the initial stage just to make sure that organizations employ some extra efforts in searching for a female head on board. 

Racha Alkhawaja believes that there are many women who are capable and are experienced enough to take over the position but are lacking access to the upper belt of the corporations.

Talking about other countries, according to Aurora50, a law passed in the year 2013 has made it mandatory for all private and public organizations to have at least one women representative on the company board in India. Women hold up to 17 percent of the spot. According to the data stacked by BoardEx, the country with the most number of women representatives on board in the year 2020 in France. With a favorable 43.6 percent of women representatives on board, France has set their gender-balanced boardroom bar high. 

The regulator in the United Arab Emirates is still to make equality and measures related to social governance obligatory for the listed organizations to unfold.

Manika Sharma
Manika Sharma is pursuing a bachelor's in computer applications and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in English Literature for her love for writing. A skater and avid debater, Manika makes sure to nurture her adventurous side with occasional activities like rock climbing.

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