22 June 2022

Hessa Buhumaid: UAE making significant progress at legislative, institutional, strategic levels to empower women

Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, has affirmed that the UAE has achieved significant progress in recent years on the legislative, institutional, and strategic levels. The UAE Government has adopted numerous policies that enhance the human rights structure in the country to preserve women’s achievements. With the support of the federal and local government to further empower women, the UAE Government continues working to enhance women’s representation and prevent all forms of discrimination against them.

The Minister chaired the UAE delegation participating in the review session of the country’s fourth periodic report on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which was held from June 21 to 22, 2022 at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva.

The delegation included representatives from the Ministry of Community Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health and Prevention, Federal National Council, UAE Gender Balance Council, General Women’s Union, Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security and Abu Dhabi Centre for Sheltering and Humanitarian Care.

“The UAE’s progress in empowering women is the result of various normative, legal, and political changes to achieve gender balance and increase their leadership roles to ensure their full and equal participation in decision-making. Women have an important role to play in sustainable development, so gender must be taken into account as we strengthen national mechanisms for gender equality,” Buhumaid said.
“In terms of the legislative and institutional environment supporting women’s empowerment, 2019 to 2021 were notable for women in the UAE, as 11 new laws and legislative amendments were issued to advance women’s rights and empower them in all fields while including them in the UAE’s 50-year strategy,” she added.
“One of the most prominent of these laws is Federal Law No. (12) of 2021 regarding the establishment of the National Human Rights Institution, an independent entity with legal authority that operates in line with the Paris Principles,” she continued.
The Minister of Community Development also noted the adoption of the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence, as well as the Family Protection Policy, which aim to safeguard the rights and welfare of families.
She added that in order to enhance women’s participation in the economy and the labor market, Federal Decree Law No. (33) of 2021was approved, and came into effect in 2022, the law prohibits all forms of discrimination in the workplace, not only on the basis of gender, but also race, color and national origin.
Buhumaid underscored that these laws have greatly contributed to empowering women in the UAE, especially in the economic field, as the number of licensed companies owned by women has reached 80,025, with over 32,000 businesswomen managing projects worth more than US$10 billion. She also pointed out the success of Emirati women in the space sector, where women made up 34 percent of the Emirates Mars Mission Hope Probe team and 80 percent of the Probe’s scientific team.
During the meeting, Committee members engaged in fruitful discussion with the UAE and congratulated the country on its achievements in empowering women in the political, economic, and cultural domains. In particular, members commended the establishment of the Gender Balance Council to ensure that federal entities follow best practices to enhance women’s empowerment. Committee members also highlighted that other nations look to the UAE as a regional model, especially in spreading the values of tolerance, coexistence and achieving happiness to its citizens. They also congratulated the UAE on its election to the UN Security Council and its significant role in achieving global peace, security, and stability.