UAE law ensuring equal pay for men and women comes into force

The legislation is key to efforts to empower women across the country

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A new UAE law ensuring equal pay for men and women in the private sector will come into operation on Friday.

A draft form of the landmark legislation was approved by the UAE Cabinet in April, 2018.

The decree was issued by President Sheikh Khalifa.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said at the time that it was a crucial step in safeguarding gender balance in the Emirates.

The new law will state that "women shall be granted a wage similar to that of a man if she performs the same work, or another of equal value."

The amended directive, updating a previous federal law established in 1980, aims to encourage more women to join the private sector.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation had commenced procedures to guarantee equal wages between men and women performing the same duties in a directive issued on August 25.

The key ruling has been hailed by Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed, president of the UAE Gender Balance Council.

"Keen on further advancing female empowerment, the UAE President has issued a law ensuring that women receive equal pay as men in the private sector. The law comes into effect from tomorrow across the UAE," she said on Twitter.

"Congratulations to all the women working in the UAE private sector. This step will undoubtedly boost the social inclusivity of women, support their role in national development, and advance the UAE’s status on the world’s Gender Equality Index."

The UAE jumped 23 ranks in the United Nations Development Programme's 2019 Gender Inequality Index, ranking first in the Arab world and 26th globally.

The goal set by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid when establishing the UAE Gender Balance Council in 2015 was to rank among the world's top 25 countries by 2021.

The UAE has made significant strides in recent years in its effort to promote gender equality.

Sheikha Fatima, the Mother of the Nation, launched Emirati Women’s Day in 2015 to bring recognition to the crucial role of women in the country.

The annual celebration coincides with the founding of the General Women's Union in 1975.

In 2017 Sheikha Fatima, wife of the late Founding Father Sheikh Zayed, was honoured by UN Women, a global champion for gender equality.

The UAE struck a blow for equality by ensuring half of its 40 Federal National Council members were women after a decree by President Sheikh Khalifa.

The membership of the council is now equally represented after the latest elections in October of last year.