The UAE's continued efforts to improve gender diversity in the boardroom have led to more women holding board positions this year (8.9 percent), up from 3.5 percent in 2020, according to research undertaken by Aurora50, a social enterprise working towards gender parity in GCC boardrooms, and Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government.
In a first-of-its-kind study undertaken in the GCC, the report interviewed 16 women with independent board directorships to understand key steps that aspiring women board directors can proactively take throughout their careers to reach non-executive board roles.
The report, "Non-executive Board Careers in the UAE: A Path to Gender Balance," revealed that 77 of the 868 board seats from the 115 listed companies on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and the Dubai Financial Market are now held by women. The boost to women on boards in the UAE follows the Securities and Commodities Authority setting a quota last year mandating all listed companies in the UAE to appoint at least one woman to their boards.
Diana Wilde, co-founder of Aurora50, said,
"It is excellent to see such progress being made in boardrooms across the UAE, but we know there is a lot more that can be done to accelerate the pace of change. We hope this report will help women in the region to confidently make their way to the top."
"It is vital now that boards embracing greater diversity must also ensure they do so through inclusive leadership to reap the rewards of higher performance and profitability."
Fatema Al Nuaimi, Chief Executive Officer for ADNOC LNG, said,
"ADNOC is committed to supporting gender balance and helping women develop, grow and excel in their careers, which is why we are proud to have collaborated with Aurora50. This important research provides better insight and actionable recommendations to further accelerate gender diversity on boards in support of the national gender balance agenda."
Al Nuaimi is one of ADNOC Group's three female chief executives, and the energy company has committed to ensuring at least one woman sits on the board of every ADNOC Group company by the end of 2022. Currently, 16 women sit on its 18 boards. ADNOC has its own gender balance committee and women's leadership development programme, and it was Aurora50's first corporate client.
Dr. Maryam Buti Alsuwaidi, Chief Executive Officer of UAE Capital Markets regulatory authority, the Securities and Commodities Authority, said,
"I am delighted by the news that over two years, the market has seen a growth in the number of board seats held by women. Now 59.1 percent of listed companies have at least one woman board member and 8.9 percent of all board members of listed companies being women."
News Source: Emirates News Agency