DUBAI, 19th October, 2023 (WAM) — In a significant step in advancing both global gender equality and technological progress, the world’s first framework for gender balance in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) was a key subject of discussion at the ‘Gender Balance and 4IR’ workshop. The workshop formed part of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils, held in Dubai.
The event witnessed leaders, experts, and stakeholders convene to address and prepare for the forthcoming launch of the new framework. Designed to empower women and foster gender equality within the realm of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the framework symbolises the UAE’s commitment to gender balance, innovation, and technological advancements.
The collaborative framework is being developed as part of a partnership between the UAE Gender Balance Council and the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE) affiliated with the World Economic Forum.
Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said the UAE has emerged as a global exemplar in shaping new international standards for gender equality. “The UAE has effectively established itself as a prominent global collaborator in enhancing opportunities for women in a wide range of sectors. Moreover, the UAE remains steadfast in its pursuit of higher rankings within global competitiveness indices concerning gender balance and women’s empowerment. It is resolutely dedicated to fostering diversity in leadership roles and continues to set the gold standard for gender balance legislation,” she said.
Al Marri added, “The upcoming launch of the framework for gender balance in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is set to empower governments, private sector organisations, and academia to actively pursue gender balance. It will provide the means to empower women through legislation, policies, programmes, and partnerships connected to 4IR, and will offer a foundation for developing solutions to present and future challenges in technology, innovation, automation, and gender balance.”
The ‘Gender Balance and 4IR’ workshop was opened by Huda Al Hashemi, Member of the UAE Gender Balance Council and Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs. It was attended by Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum, and Ruqayya Al Balushi, Executive Director for International Relations and Government Knowledge Exchange at the Prime Minister’s Office within the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs. Aisha Valliani, Vice President of Teneo, moderated the event.
During the workshop, participants discussed opportunities to ensure a 4IR model that achieves gender balance. It also explored how to leverage global expertise in shaping a more equitable and inclusive future in industry.
During a speech delivered by Al Hashemi, she emphasised the UAE’s impressive performance in gender balance indices recognised by the World Bank, World Economic Forum (WEF), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She further noted that the launch of such a framework in the near future symbolises the leadership’s dedication to empowering Emirati women.
“The UAE leadership’s approach has helped Emirati women accomplish unprecedented milestones. This reflects the priorities outlined in the country’s strategy for attaining gender balance in the public and private sectors through comprehensive policies and international partnerships,” Al Hashemi said.
She added, “Women comprise half the planet’s population, and they have enormous potential to contribute to 4IR. However, women around the world face numerous challenges, including discrimination in education, training, and employment. Leveraging the potential of 4IR requires a firm commitment across all nations to ensuring gender balance.”
Jointly organised by the UAE government and WEF, the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils was attended by around 600 international experts and intellectuals across 30 councils, along with government officials and representatives from international organisations and academia.