UN Women launches new gender-equality campaign

#WEPsinAction aims to empower women in workplaces across the UAE

Call center agent Amal Ali(cq), 27, works the phone at the new Etihad call center in Al Ain on Sunday, March 13, 2011. The phone customer service center provides job opportunities to many local Emirati women from various family backgrounds. (Silvia R‡zgov‡ / The National)
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A new campaign to tackle gender equality in the workplace has been launched by UN Women, it was announced on Thursday.

In a collaboration between the UN Women UAE Liaison Office for the GCC and the General Women's Union, the new Women's Empowerment Principles drive aims to create a better environment for women working in the private sector.

The principles offer guidance to businesses on how to advance gender equality and women's empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community.

"We believe that businesses have a critical role to play in advancing gender equality," said Noura Al Suwaidi, secretary general of the UAE General Women's Union.

"By signing on to the WEPs, companies in the UAE can show their commitment to creating a more equal and just society for all."

The campaign, #WEPsinAction, currently has 122 signatories in the UAE but aims to triple that number by the end of 2025.

Ms Al Suwaidi said that under the leadership of the UAE government, the campaign would look to expand women's participation in the economic development of the country.

The UAE has shown "great improvements in the field of women's economic empowerment", she said.

In recent years, the UAE has introduced laws to empower women, including labour legislation focused on anti-discrimination and harassment, as well as equal pay and extended maternity leave.

The #WEPsInAction campaign has been launched to meet the UN's 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.

The campaign aims to ensure equal pay, boost women's leadership representation, support work-life balance and promote education, training and professional development for women.

It will also encourage supply chain and marketing practices that empower women, support advocacy and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality.

Private sector companies with a minimum of 10 employees are eligible to join and have been invited to start the process by signing a statement of support.

"We know that when women thrive, businesses thrive," said Dr Mouza Al Shehhi, director of the UN Women GCC Liaison Office.

"We encourage private sector entities to take the first step toward gender equality by signing the WEPs and joining the 122 companies who are already working proactively towards this important goal."

Updated: May 04, 2023, 2:23 PM