UAE adopts revolutionary steps in bridging the gender pay gap

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Working Women
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The UAE has pioneered a paradigm shift in bridging the wage gap between men and women in the same job or businesses of equivalent value over the last three years.

Equal pay for men and women is one of the most important aspects of respect for human rights and dedication to gender equality. In the Gender Inequality Index (GII) of the United Nations’ Human Development Report 2020, the country was ranked 18th globally and first regionally.

The UAE will join countries around the world in hosting International Equal Pay Day on September 18th. The United Nations (UN) has declared it as an annual occasion to step up efforts in empowering women and girls and remove all barriers for attaining gender equality in the workplace.

The UAE has topped the MENA region rankings, according to the World Bank’s 2021 “Women, Business, and the Law” (WBL) report, due to various legislative improvements linked to women’s economic involvement enacted during the last three years. The annual report includes eight indicators based on women’s experiences with the legal system as they begin, move through, and end their careers. The indicators are Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension.

The UAE Labor Law specifies that female employees shall be paid equally to male employees if they perform the same or similar work, eliminates all restrictions imposed on women working at night or in complex jobs, prohibits employers from terminating a working woman’s services or warning her because of her pregnancy, and prohibits discrimination between men and women regarding access to jobs and promotion.

This year, the UAE received 82.5 points out of a possible 100, compared to 56 in the report’s 2020 edition and 29 in the 2019 edition. In the latest report, the UAE earned a perfect score, 100 points on five indicators: movement, workplace, wages, entrepreneurship, and pension. In the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report for 2021, the UAE was ranked first in the Arab world. The UAE came out on top in four of the report’s indicators: women in parliament, the gender ratio at birth, literacy rate, and primary school enrolment.

Females account for 64 percent of workers in the education sector, the same percentage of total doctors, nurses, and technicians in the health sector, and 31 percent of total workers in finance, banking, and insurance activities. Women own 80,025 licensed companies, with 21.5 percent of management roles and 32.5 percent of workers in specialized professions in the country.

Related: Women play critical role in socio-economic growth of UAE; Dubai Customs