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Local and multinational private sector companies affirm commitment to UAE Gender Balance Council vision to advance economic and social prosperity

DUBAI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — Officials from 18 major local and international companies across various sectors in the UAE have expressed their pride in signing the voluntary pledge to accelerate gender balance and raise the percentage of women in leadership positions to 30 percent by 2025. The companies have expressed their commitment to accelerating the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Gender Equality).

Signatories also expressed their pride in being part of an initiative that contributes to the UAE’s global competitiveness, reduces gender gaps, and achieves the UAE leadership’s future vision. The signatories stressed their commitment to working with the UAE Gender Balance Council to achieve this goal and have announced a number of policy and programmatic efforts that will support in implementing the pledge and in creating more gender balanced workplaces.

The Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance in the UAE Private Sector was signed by local and multinational companies on 18th January, at a ceremony organised by the UAE Gender Balance Council, in collaboration with the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre.

Shamsa Saleh, Secretary-General of the UAE Gender Balance Council, affirmed that the UAE believes in the important role of partnerships, saying, "The pledge signed by 18 local and international companies is the result of two years of collaboration between the public and private sectors. The goal of these companies to raise the percentage of women in leadership positions goes beyond the local scale as many of these organisations are multinational companies, and so we are certain that these important actions will spread positive impact beyond the UAE."

"This initiative is part of the UAE Gender Balance Council’s framework and efforts, led by H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to promote gender balance across sectors and build strategic partnerships both locally and abroad. Many initiatives have been implemented to accelerate the achievement of SDG5, which is reflected in the UAE’s leading position regionally and advanced ranking in global indicators in gender balance," she added.

"The pledge includes four main pillars: equal pay and fair compensation; gender equitable recruitment and promotion; gender mainstreaming in policies and programmes; and transparency through data sharing," she concluded.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer at Majid Al Futtaim, said, "We work in line with the UAE government’s vision to accelerate the nation’s development journey, boost the country’s economy and build towards a workspace that values and develops balanced gender roles. Therefore, we have committed to a series of initiatives focused on the professional advancement of local talent, one of which is our devotion to recruit 3,000 Emiratis seeking to build their careers in the private sector in the next 5 years. We have also committed to a gender diversity target for women to constitute 30 percent of board members and senior management roles in the next 5 years."

Huda Buhumaid, Chief Marketing Officer of Dubai Holding, said, "As Gender Equality continues to be an integral part of the UAE’s social fabric and a key national priority for our leadership, we at Dubai Holding are inspired by and driven to emulate our young nation’s progress on gender balance. In line with the SDG5 efforts and national priorities, we have adopted a gender-lens approach to nurturing talent across the group through an inclusive culture and policies that support a gender-balanced workplace, as well as critical policy changes across our groupwide businesses that cover 10 sectors with over 20,000 employees."

For his side, Luay Al Shurafa, President and Managing Director, GM Africa & Middle East, expressed the company’s honour to sign the SDG 5 Pledge, and has congratulated the UAE government for spearheading the conversation and encouraging businesses to drive forward gender-parity reforms, saying, "We aim to become the most inclusive company in the world by leading with transparency and accountability, as well as a strong internal culture and gender equitable workplace practices. For more than ten years, GM AMEO has and continues to develop and promote future female leadership and talent. Today, 31 percent of our leadership positions are occupied by women, across our offices, as we continue to maintain equal opportunities across genders led by our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion oversight committee."

Olivia Bellingham, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa at Mastercard, said, "An equal world is a more inclusive world, and Mastercard remains committed to wholeheartedly support the journey to gender balance with all our resources, technology, and the power of our network. Every time we embrace a chance to include and celebrate diversity, is an opportunity in which we keep momentum to effect change and create a better world.

"Gender equality is one of the key pillars for Mastercard across the Middle East and wider region, as we strive to ensure gender equality within our organisation, as well as unlock the female economy and empower women entrepreneurs. Public-private partnerships such as this one play a key part in this journey, enabling us to further accelerate this mission," she added.

Patrick Higgins, People and Organisation Director at Mars Middle East and Africa, said, "This pledge is a testament to the progress the UAE has made to promote gender balance across the nation. We at Mars are very proud to partner with the Gender Balance Council on this initiative to drive a shared agenda to advance female representation in senior and middle management. Our strategic focus to unlock opportunities for women and advance gender equality is driven by our belief in the exceptional value that more diverse teams bring in our business. Our emphasis on gender diversity can be found in our policies, our flexible work culture, and our associate concept which is one thing that is unique about Mars. Our aim is to reach a 40/60 ratio by 2025 across all levels of our organization and especially at our leadership levels, which will be a catalyst for further diversifying our entire organisation. We believe that having a diverse organisation drives innovation, entrepreneurship, better decision making and ensures we are more connected to our consumers. We believe this is essential for success in the UAE and beyond."

Meanwhile, Ahmed Khashan, President of Gulf Countries at Schneider Electric, said, "At Schneider Electric, gender balance is a top priority for us, both locally and globally. As a company, we take pride in the way we nurture an inclusive culture where both women and men are empowered, appreciated, and, most importantly, valued in the organisation. Gender balance is key to how we run our business and it is why we have such a diverse and inclusive team that is dedicated to bringing our energy-efficient and sustainable technologies to the world."

Sanjiv Kakkar, Executive Vice-President of Unilever MENA, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus & Turkey, said, "At Unilever, ensuring the diversity of our workforce is a top priority resulting in an increase from 21.8 percent (2014) to 43.4 percent (2021) of women in management roles in the UAE. Our commitment to ensuring the diversity of our workforce has seen it integrated into our business strategies, talent acquisition, talent development, and retention practices and processes."

Rachid Fergati, Managing Director, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia at UPS, said, "We strive to ensure that our internal culture is one that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion. We are an advocate for gender parity and women’s equality at the workplace, and are proud to leverage our resources and expertise to drive women economic empowerment. As part of UPS’s commitment to advancing a sustainable and inclusive trade agenda, we are supporting the entry of women entrepreneurs into the international trade arena through the UPS’s Women Exporters Program. We are honored to sign the pledge to accelerate gender balance in the UAE's private sector. We look forward to furthering the vision of UAE’s Gender Balance Council to drive economic and social prosperity in the country, and create a lasting impact for the community."

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Breaking / Federal Supreme Council elects Mohamed bin Zayed as UAE President

ABU DHABI, 14th May, 2022 (WAM) — The Federal Supreme Council today unanimously elected His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as President of the United Arab Emirates.

The Council held a meeting today at Al Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

The meeting was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah; H.H. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman; H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah; H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu’alla, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm Al Qaiwain; and H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs said that according to Article 51 of the Constitution, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was unanimously elected as the President of the UAE to succeed the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Their Highnesses, the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates have reaffirmed their keenness to continue implementing the authentic values and principles laid down by the late deceased, Sheikh Khalifa, following on from the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. These have consolidated the UAE’s status at both regional and global levels.

The Federal Supreme Council expressed its full confidence that the people of the UAE will remain, as Sheikh Zayed and the founders believed, “a faithful guardian of the Union and its gains at all levels”.

Their Highnesses wished H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan success in serving his people and country.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed expressed his appreciation for the precious trust placed in him by his brothers, Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, praying to the Almighty to guide and help him to bear the responsibility of this great trust and to fulfil its tasks of serving his country and people.


WAM/Rola Alghoul/Esraa Ismail

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wasl properties announces the 12th edition of its annual Ramadan Arts Competition

News of Emirates – wasl properties, one of the largest real estate development and management companies in Dubai, has announced the launch of the 12th edition of its annual Ramadan competition that seeks to reward its creative and artistic tenants with exceptional prizes.

The annual competitions welcome participation from all ages, with a painting challenge for wasl tenants’ children and a photography contest for adults.

wasl’s Ramadan Painting Competition is designed for younger tenants of up to 13 years old, and participants will be required to paint a piece reflecting the true meaning of Ramadan. With an iPad up for grabs every week, artworks must be uploaded to the website for them to be voted on publicly and judged by the wasl committee. At the end of the holy month, one winner out of the four selected over the course of the competition will be awarded the grand prize of a scholarship of up to AED 25,000.

For adults, wasl launched the Ramadan Instagram Photography Competition, which invites anyone over the age of 13, even non-tenants, to capture the true meaning of the holy month by taking a selfie with one of Dubai’s landmarks. Those interested in participating must share their photographs on Instagram using #waslRamadan2022 and mentioning @waslgroup. Each entrant can upload an unlimited number of photos, and the wasl committee will decide which lucky entrants will win one of four Apple Watches every week.

wasl properties launched the ‘Ramadan Competition’ for the first time in 2011, and it has expanded over the years to become an anticipated annual contest.

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Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, UAE are ‘terrorist actions’: Kosovo PM

PRISTINA, 17th February, 2022 (WAM) — Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, has condemned the Houthi attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, labelling the militia as a terrorist group.

"We were appalled by these images and all these attacks. Absolute violence against civilians, which has nothing to do with respect for human dignity, human rights, society and community. This is something that we can never tolerate and it is our task to always condemn it," Kurti told Saudi English language newspaper Arab News.

Asked whether he agrees that as a result of targeting civilian targets the Houthi militia should be designated as a terrorist group, Kurti said, "Yes, I think that all these attacks on civilians are terrorist actions."

On 17th January, the Houthi milita attacked a fuel tank storage facility near Abu Dhabi International Airport, killing three and injuring six.

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