“UAE sets legal quota for women on boards of directors – International Women Directors Organization Report”

2023-05-05 21:13:45

Hossam Abdel Nabi (Dubai)
The UAE took the initiative to adopt a legal quota system for women on boards of directors in 2021, thus becoming the first country in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey to push state-owned companies to adhere to a quota for women, according to the report of the International Women Directors Organization issued by the Global Summit of Women.
The report revealed that companies in which women hold board seats consistently outperform companies with all-male boards of directors. The report, the details of which were revealed during the 2023 Global Summit of Women held in Dubai, confirmed that more than half of the companies listed in a region in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey have boards of directors that are limited to men only, with 55.5% of the 1,148 listed companies. In 16 countries, pointing out that the representation of women on the boards of directors of companies in 16 countries in the Middle East is still largely inadequate, as they occupy only 8.6% of the seats on boards of directors.
Reviewing the findings of the report, Irene Natividad, President of the Global Summit of Women, said that although a low overall ratio is a dominant feature of the region, a number of countries in it, as well as many companies, are focusing on accelerating gender diversity in corporate boardrooms. Noting that the UAE has taken great steps to increase women’s representation on boards of directors, in addition to a number of countries in the region such as the Kingdom of Morocco, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain, Lebanon and Tunisia.
The report, of which Al Ittihad obtained a copy, stated that the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region ranks last in terms of appointing women to boards of directors, compared to other geographical regions, at a rate of 8.6%. Latin America is next lowest, at 14.5%. He showed that the regions that rank first in hiring women as members of boards of directors globally are Europe (33%), then the United States / Canada (32%), followed by Africa (19.1%), and finally the Asia and Pacific region (16.2%), noting that The Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey region is witnessing a state of heterogeneity between its countries in appointing women as members of boards of directors, as the rates of women range from 18.2% in Morocco to 1.8% in Qatar, and there are some countries that have more women in their boards than 10%, which is Turkey (17.9%), Egypt (15.9%), Algeria (14.7%), and Tunisia (10.5%). On the other hand, the rates of women’s presence on boards of directors in a number of countries decline to less than 5%, namely: Kuwait (4.8%), Lebanon (4.5%), Bahrain (4.2%), Saudi Arabia (2.9%), and Qatar (1.8%).
Gender parity
According to the report of the International Women Directors Organization issued by the Global Summit of Women, which was prepared in cooperation with Deloitte, there are 16 companies in the Middle East in which the percentage of women in boards of directors exceeds 40%, including 8 Turkish companies, one of which achieved gender parity in the board of directors. management, where seats are distributed equally between women and men, indicating that in addition to the eight companies in Turkey and the Egyptian company, the Kingdom of Morocco has three companies among the best-performing companies, while Kuwait, the UAE, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia each own one company among those that have 40% on Fewer women on boards.
The Global Women Directors report issued by the Global Summit of Women called on countries that have not yet enacted quotas for women’s representation on corporate boards to take either government-led initiatives such as setting quotas/targets, or private sector measures such as inclusion of diversity. gender in private corporate governance laws, and developing national strategies to improve gender diversity in boards of directors, concluding by noting that public pressure on leaders of the government and private sectors played a major role in pushing women to board seats in many countries, especially when they are led by leading businesswomen , and when combined with research indicating the low number of women in boards of directors, or when combined with recent case studies.

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