UAE climbs higher on UN gender equality index

UAE 18th for gender equality and 31st for overall human development in latest reports

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Job seekers at the Careers UAE 2019 at Dubai World Trade Centre.  Leslie Pableo for The National for Patrick Ryan's story

The UAE climbed eight positions on the UN Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index, ranking first in the Arab world and 18th globally in 2020 for commitment to advancing women's rights.

The index tracks inequalities between men and women in reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market.

It also highlights areas that require government intervention.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, celebrated the achievement, saying the UAE had aimed to become one of the world’s top 25 countries for gender balance by 2021.

“Even before the end of 2020, the UAE has been ranked No 1 in the Arab world and 18th on the UNDP Gender Inequality Index,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed, president of the UAE Gender Balance Council and Dubai Women's Establishment, said she was proud of what the country had achieved in the five years since the council was established.

“The UAE has become a role model in the Arab world and across the region for policies supporting gender balance," Sheikha Manal said.

The index is one factor in the overall country ranking for the UN’s Human Development Report, which also tracks education, life expectancy and average income to determine how developed a country is.

The UAE rose four positions in this year’s ranking to 31st of 189 countries.

The report said life expectancy in the UAE is 78 and the number of expected years of schooling is 14.3, with the mean total being 12.1 years.

Norway topped the index, with Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Iceland rounding out the top five.

The UK ranked 13th while the US was 17th.