ABU DHABI // The UAE topped the GCC in a Gender Progress Index released by business school Insead this week.
The index takes a holistic view towards gender issues and includes education, health, labour, politics, power and society. It considers the relative performance of men versus women with no distinction between the two.
The findings were discussed at a seminar marking International Women’s Day at the Insead Middle East Campus in Abu Dhabi, and were presented by Dr Kai Chan, distinguished fellow at the school’s Innovation and Policy Initiative.
“The index will enable policy makers to understand the problems within society and focus on where efforts should be placed,” Dr Chan said. “It is about assessing which countries are doing their best in achieving the full potential of both sexes. There are more obstacles to women, but society progresses when both genders maximise their outcomes.”
He said so far, other gender reports had focused exclusively on either the level of gender progress or the ratio between men and women. “For the GCC countries to perform higher on the index, they need to ensure a more balanced development,” he added.
Miguel Lobo, associate professor of decision sciences and director of Insead’s Middle East campus, said: “It is important to understand the complexity around gender roles in a globalised world to develop strategies to minimise gender gaps across cultures and domains – economic, health, legal, and others.”
Norway topped the Index followed by Sweden, The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.
Last December, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, assigned the UAE Gender Balance Council to support the implementation of the ‘Gender Inequality Index’ issued annually by the United Nations Development Programme.
In line with the UAE Vision 2021, the index has been designed to enhance the country’s efforts in driving women’s participation in the national development.
Sheikh Mohammed has also instructed the council to oversee the ‘Gender Inequality Index’ and the implementation of best practices and processes to ensure federal institutions achieve their gender balance targets, which will support the UAE’s vision to become one of the world’s top 25 countries that have achieved gender equality by 2021.