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6.7% of CEOs in UAE are women

illustration of two women brainstorming on a sofa with laptops - picture courtesy Pixabay/ Mohamed Hassan
Suzanne Locke 8 June 2023
A new report shows that 6.7 percent of CEO positions in the UAE are held by women, higher than the global average of five percent.
In comparison, there are no current examples of women holding CEO roles at publicly listed companies in Qatar or Saudi Arabia.
In April, international bank Citi appointed Emirati woman Shamsa Al-Falasi as CEO of its UAE onshore branch.
Rola Abu Manneh joined Standard Chartered Bank UAE as CEO in 2018, the first Emirati woman to head a bank in the UAE.
And in 2021, Hana Al Rostamani was named Group Chief Executive Officer at First Abu Dhabi Bank.
Bain’s report on gender equity in the Middle East workforce found that gender bias and stereotypes were one of the biggest challenges to workplace advancement.
Other issues highlighted were inadequate mentorship, training and support for work-life balance.
Four UAE companies were named in the report for their work on gender balance:
  1. AD Ports Group partnered with Aurora50 to create GLOW as a career support vehicle for talented women employees.
  2. Emirates Global Aluminium formally announced its vision for a more diverse leadership team, setting a goal to increase the numbers of females in supervisory roles from 20% in 2021 to 25% in 2025.
  3. Chalhoub Group has achieved gender pay parity by using a data-driven DEI dashboard that informs its hiring, promotion and salary allocation practices.
  4. Emirates NBD banking group provides education assistance to both male and female employees.
Some 70 percent of top-performing teams in the GCC have a higher percentage of women.
World Bank estimates show 53 percent of Emirati women are employed in the workforce. The global average workforce participation rate is 47.4 percent.