The UAE appointed Maryam Buti Al Suwaidi as chief executive of the Securities and Commodities Authority, making her the first woman to hold this position.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE, issued a federal decree appointing Ms Al Suwaidi to the head of the SCA on Sunday, according to state-run news agency Wam. Before this, she was the acting chief executive of the UAE markets regulator.
The executive is "the first woman to occupy this position in the history of the Securities and Commodities Authority", Wam said.
Ms Al Suwaidi, who holds a PhD in law From the University of Leeds in the UK and a master's degree in commercial law from the University of Wales, has worked in several roles at the SCA since 2002. Before that, she worked at the Ministry of Education and at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Her appointment at the SCA comes as more female executives are picked for top finance positions in the Gulf.
First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s largest lender by assets, earlier this year named Hana Al Rostamani as its first female group chief executive, a significant step for gender diversity in the male-dominated banking sector. In 2018, Standard Chartered appointed Rola Abu Manneh as the chief executive of its UAE division.
The female labour force participation rate in the UAE, which was 57.5 per cent in 2020, is one of the highest in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a World Bank blog post in March. Male labour force participation rate in the UAE stood at 92 per cent that same year.
The Gulf country has also taken various steps to increase gender diversity across its boardrooms. In March, the SCA said it required all listed companies in the UAE to have at least one female director on their boards in a bid to boost gender diversity.