UAE tops for women entrepreneurship in female opportunity index

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Women entrepreneurship
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The UAE is positioned among the top 20 countries for the number of women in entrepreneurial roles with a score of 95.4 out of 100 and ranked 28th for the number of women in the government sector, according to the Female Opportunity Index 2021.

The ranking made by the German digital bank N26 finds that Norway gives the best opportunities to women without any gender disparities. Out of 100 nations, the European country topped in all categories including political participation of females, corporate leadership and women’s legislation. Finland and Iceland secured the second and third positions in the index.

In terms of offering maternity benefits, Estonia topped the list by giving three years of leave, followed by Slovakia and Finland in second and third positions with 1,148 days and 1,127 days respectively.

“For many women, financial independence is the only means through which they can determine how they want to live and yet it often comes at the expense of being the primary care-giver and having the lion’s share of domestic duties at home,” states Adrienne Gormley Chief Operating Officer at the N26.

With the coronavirus pandemic career of women has been more negatively impacted than men, with female jobs being 1.8 times more at risk due to this crisis than men’s, at 5.7 percent versus 3.1 percent, according to management consultancy McKinsey.

Even though women represent 39 percent of global employment, with the increasing domestic burden due to the pandemic they account for 54 percent of overall job losses.

In the female opportunity index, the UK secured an overall fourth position by topping in the number of women in managerial positions and female access to education.

The UAE came in overall 79th position, with ranking lowest for maternity leave offered, only 45 days. However, this is only in the private sector, women working under the emirate’s government departments are given 90 days of paid leave.

The East African country, Rwanda has topped the index with most women in government positions, followed by Spain and Finland, while Sweden has the most women in top management positions.

The US has the highest number of women entrepreneurs and Japan offers female’s more access to education. Sri Lanka has had the most years with a female head of government, followed by Norway and India.

Singapore is positioned at the top of the list in terms of women’s salaries and gender pay equality and for the number of women in Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) roles.

Adrienne Gormley
Adrienne Gormley

“There has been a lot of discussion about the fact that female-led countries performed better than male-led ones during the height of the first COVID-19 wave. This has been attributed to better communication and more lateral thinking, however, the ultimate outcome is that countries with female leaders managed better during the peak of the crisis.”

The countries included in the N26 study were evaluated in terms of political leadership, career opportunity, pay equality and support based on data available in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report 2020.