Government firms and agencies in the UAE are now obliged to employ women as board members following a Cabinet decision on Sunday.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced the decision on Twitter.
“Women proved themselves in many workplaces and today we want them to have a strong presence in decision-making positions in our institutions,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.
Few countries such Norway, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain and Iceland have established quotas for women in the boards of corporations.
The decision marked a milestone in gender equality for women in the UAE and the Gulf region as a whole.
The Abu-Dhabi-based daily The National reported that women only hold 1.5 percent of board positions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Shamsa Saleh, Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) chief executive, told The National that the Cabinet’s decision was “the most important news in the history of Dubai Women Establishment.”
“We recommended this policy last month in our forum and it's been implemented this month,” she said.
“It means that we have succeeded and Sheikh Mohammed is very happy about it.”
Maha al-Mansouri, the associate director of human resources, at Masdar, meanwhile, told the paper that the decision helps involve women in the decision-making process and encourage competition between genders.