The UAE Central Bank joined forces with social enterprise Aurora50 to improve the representation of women on the boards of public and private sector companies.
Under the arrangement, two entities will promote the exchange of information and build a strong pipeline of female talent.
UAE Central Bank governor Abdulhamid Alahmadi said yesterday that they will support "the national agenda by engaging with the nomination committees of the boards of financial institutions to ensure a fair representation of women on their boards", as required by the regulator's corporate governance standards.
There are large gaps between the representation of men and women in leadership positions in banking – both at a corporate and regulatory level – around the world.
Women account for less than 2 per cent of the chief executives of financial institutions and make up less than a fifth of executive board members, according to research by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The partnership between the UAE Central Bank and Aurora50 will provide a platform to share information through conferences, meetings, seminars and workshops.
The collaboration “reinforces the link between the representation of women on boards and national economic development”, said Aurora50 co-founder Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan.
“This is a positive step in the right direction and we hope it encourages other organisations to accelerate their efforts towards more female representation at the board level.”
Aurora50 launched its flagship initiative Pathway20 last March to increase gender balance at a board level.
The initiative bolsters the pipeline of competent female board directors and offers participants opportunities to network with boards that are expected to search for independent directors in the future.
Aurora50 has a series of partnerships with entities such as Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, Adnoc, Mubadala Investment Company, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Ports, Emirates Global Aluminum, the Abu Dhabi Global Market, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the Dubai Financial Market and the Dubai International Financial Centre.
IMF research shows that having more women leaders in finance will not only reduce existing gender employment gaps in the corporate sector but also strengthen bank stability.
Its studies found that increasing the proportion of women on the boards of banks and regulatory agencies resulted in greater financial sector resilience, a lower chance of insolvency and greater profitability.