NAMA Urges Public and Private Institutions to Take the Gender Equality Pledge

  • Selected pledges will be announced at the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit next month  

In the run up to the UAE’s first Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS) scheduled to be held on December 4-5, 2017 at the Expo Centre Sharjah, organisers NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) and UN Women are calling upon all sectors of society to pledge a commitment to action for Women Economic Empowerment.

NAMA and the UN Women are calling on governmental departments, academic institutions, non-governmental and international organizations, SMEs, large corporations and multinationals, and even individuals, to adopt two of the Women’s Economic Principles (WEPs) which are developed through a partnership between UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact to support companies in reviewing existing policies and practices—or establishing new ones—to realize women’s empowerment in the workplace and community.

Themed ‘Women Excelling in the Economy’, WEEGS’ inaugural summit will evaluate methods of creating an enabling global economy for women.

Investing in women and girls is key to sustainable development. A 2015 report by the McKinsey Global Initiative, focusing on gender equality and how the public, private, and social sectors need to close the gender gap in work and society, had shown that if women and men participated equally in the economy, USD28 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025.

WEEGS, which will be held biannually, will focus on achieving its set goals of women economic empowerment, which includes giving women access to the market and the right opportunities to succeed.

The WEEGS’ pledge criteria, rules and application form can be accessed on the summit’s website on http://weesummit.com/pledge/ . The deadline for application is November 12, 2017.

There are eight categories that the pledger can choose to commit to, each representing a Women’s Empowerment Principle (WEP), which includes ‘establishing high-level corporate leadership for gender equality’, ‘treating all women and men fairly at work’ and ‘Promoting education, training and professional development for women’.

After choosing two of the eight WEPs the pledgers wish to support, they have to specify the type of commitment or action they will carry out to fulfil their pledge. The type of commitment includes signing the WEPs, funding a programme that supports the WEPs chosen, adopting and implementing a policy or law.

The pledged actions should be implemented before the end of 2019. NAMA Women Advancement Establishment and UN Women will follow-up on the progress of the pledged actions over the implementation period and until the WEEGS 2019, where the final results of the pledges will be announced.

“Gender equity is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for ending poverty, for building peaceful societies and achieving sustainable development. In the UAE society, building women’s role is a key significant index. Pledging parity not only empowers women to be part of decisions that affect their lives, it also makes perfect business sense. The companies that adopt policies help closing the gender gaps, is likely increasing the productivity and having a higher retention rates of their female employees” said Reem BinKaram Director of NAMA, highlighting the far-reaching impacts the pledges made during WEEGS 2017 can have on society.

“The WEPs provide a clear strategy to ensure that you are committed to encouraging gender equality and eliminating discrimination at the office, in public and private spaces, schools, universities and everywhere else. Taking a pledge will give the pledgers a chance to identify the strengths and gaps in their performance on gender equality, and a concise and clear format to improve it,” BinKaram added.

The budget allocated to putting the pledge in action, the timeline for realisation and expected outcomes need to be mentioned in the pledge application. If selected, a senior member of the organisation should be available to announce the commitment on WEEGS stage. Selected entities will be notified by November 15, 2017.

WEEGS was conceived under the vision and patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of NAMA and Honorary President of Global Women’s Economic Inclusion, to further advance the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the organisation’s General Assembly in September 2015. The Summit will witness the birth of yet another significant collaboration between NAMA and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), kicking into action their Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs flagship initiative in Sharjah, the UAE and the rest of the Arab world.