From the government’s laws and initiatives to private companies’ HR policies, the UAE has created not only a place where women feel safe but a space where they can thrive, pursue their passions, and go for the gold.
In some parts of the world, women are still struggling. In fact, a recent World Economic Forum report predicted that it would take 115 years before the Middle East and North Africa could close the gender gap: A forecast that is far from the reality in the UAE — the top-performing Arab nation in the same index.
For the UAE, women empowerment is a priority, a strategy that the private sector strongly supports. Some companies have even gone the extra mile to give female employees the benefits and recognition they deserve.
Today, International Women’s Day, we look at how government entities and organisations are making an effort to create an ideal, supportive workplace for women:
1. Paid leaves for periods, menopause symptoms
Dubai-based company TishTash Communications recently went viral after announcing that it is giving its 48-strong workforce a host of additional paid leaves.
Staff members can avail of up to six days of menopause (and menstrual) leave per year, apart from personal or sick leaves. Those undergoing fertility treatment, including those wishing to freeze their eggs, will be given flexible and unrestricted paid leave to allow them to attend medical appointments.
Within 24 hours after Khaleej Times reported the news, the firm received more than 1,200 job applications.
2. Baby care leave
The UAE-based multinational Aries Group introduced a post-natal benefit called ‘Baby Care’ leave earlier this year — allowing new mothers to take a one-year leave and an additional year in a work-from-home setup.
This was rolled out in addition to the menstrual leave policy it implemented last year.
3. Equal pay
In the UAE, the government is ensuring that there are no gender-specific differences when it comes to salaries.
Guaranteeing equal pay by law, the country implemented a decree a couple of years ago, stating that women should be paid as much as men for the same job. Wages, it added, will be determined by market standards and not gender.
4. Flexible hours
When the Covid pandemic struck in 2020, the UAE authorities were quick to respond to the needs of working mothers.
Back then, the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources granted flexible working hours to mothers working in ministries and federal entities. Specifically for mums who have children in nurseries, the decision was taken following the temporary closure of kindergartens as a precautionary measure.
Under the policy, working mothers may arrive two hours late or leave two hours before they finish normal working hours to take care of their children.
5. Work-from-home option
When some schools switched to e-learning, Sharjah rolled out an initiative, allowing female government employees to work remotely if they have a child attending virtual classes. The benefit was made available until in-person classes resumed.
6. Extended maternity leave
The new UAE labour law extends maternity leaves in the private sector to 60 days, including 15 days on half wage.
In cases of the mother or the newborn falling ill, the employee is eligible to receive additional 45 days without pay once the initial maternity leave is over, upon providing an official sick leave.
7. Free capacity-building workshops
Real estate company Property Finder has launched of a bespoke programme that seeks to build the next generation of female leaders in the industry.
The six-month capacity-building programme, called SheForShe, will involve mentorship and extensive training. Highly qualified and experienced mentors will guide the participants on overcoming common industry challenges and coping with changes in this fast-paced setting.
News source: Khaleej times