The United Arab Emirates government was mocked on social media after all the winners of an initiative designed to foster gender equality at the workplace were men. The Gender Balance Index awards was set up to incentivise government departments to meet female participation goals that were set by the government in 2015.
On Sunday, the Dubai Media Office tweeted photographs of UAE’s vice president and the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, handing out certificates amd medals to the winners in the categories of “best government entity supporting gender balance”, “best federal authority supporting gender balance” and “best gender balance initiative”.
“We are proud of the success of Emirati women and their role is central to shaping the future of the country,” Rashid al-Maktoum was quoted as saying. “Gender balance has become a pillar in our government institutions.”
Rashid al-Maktoum added that “the achievements of Emirati women today reaffirm the wise vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, who believed in the importance of the role of women, and their right to work and become key partners in society”.
Women have won awards in previous editions of the ceremony. The Dubai Media Office said Rashid al-Maktoum “recognised the efforts” of one woman – Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum – but she was not among the winners. She is the head of the UAE’s Gender Balance Council and the wife of a deputy prime minister.