March 8th Abu Dhabi, UAE: Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan has today announced the launch of ’20 For 2020′, an innovative program launched to drive gender balance at board level. 20 women will have the opportunity to partake in a year-long professional development course while they gain board-level experience. The overarching objective of ’20 For 2020′ is to create gender equality by placing more women into the board of director roles. The program aligns with the UAE’s leadership directive for the empowerment of women in the workplace, and more specifically with the Dubai Women Establishment’s objective to increase female representation on corporate boards to 20% within 2020.
The first partners of the ’20 For 2020′ initiative were also confirmed today, with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and representatives of the program signing a cooperation agreement, making ADNOC the `Anchor Partner. In addition, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Dubai Future Foundation, Egon Zehnder, Fidelio Partners, INSEAD Corporate Governance Centre, Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance and Nasdaq Dubai were all named ‘Founding Knowledge Partners’.
The diverse range of partners will help deliver the different components of this unique program, which include: multiple days of board training, a year-long placement on a UAE-based company’s board, executive coaching and mentoring, round-table discussions, workshops providing finance and media training, plus an array of networking opportunities.
Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, co-founder of ’20 For 2020, stated: “Under the guidance and through the efforts of the Gender Balance Council, the UAE has established itself as a leader and world model, in many respects, for gender equality. Our aim is to continue to build on this precedent with ’20 for 2020′, which provides a practical solution for ambitious women to grow into leadership and board positions.
This initiative is about creating a pathway that enables inclusiveness and creates opportunities. By placing more women into board positions we’re enriching the perspective of boardrooms across the UAE, and thus creating a work environment where business operations have an opportunity to perform optimally. By championing equality and ensuring balanced representation on boards, we can create a culture of diversity that is essential in combatting groupthink and driving competitiveness.”
Sheikha Shamma concluded by adding: “We have seen great commitment from our Anchor Partner, ADNOC, and Knowledge Partners towards furthering gender equality in boardrooms across the country, which is not only representative of them as organisations but of the UAE as a whole. As our nation prepares to celebrate its Golden Jubilee and sets the blueprint for the next 50 years, my hope is that other organisations will follow suit in supporting the growth and development of female talent for decades to come.”
Ms. Fatema Al Nuaimi, ADNOC LNG CEO and Chair of the ADNOC Gender Balance Committee said: “ADNOC has an unwavering commitment in supporting females to grow, develop and excel in their careers, which is why we are proud to be an anchor partner of the ’20 for 2020′ program. We believe that gender diversity in leadership positions contributes to innovative thinking that drives competitive advantage. As we seek to contribute towards our nation’s prosperity, this program will help the UAE build a pipeline of female talent in leadership positions.”
’20 For 2020′ has been launched following a multitude of initiatives, mandates and conversations that have taken place surrounding the inclusiveness of boards across the UAE. It has been noted that the representation of youth and women on government and semi-government entity’s boards will be paramount. Additionally, it was announced at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 that the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Dubai Women Establishment are developing an eBoard platform that will streamline the application process for board positions at DFM-listed companies, of which one-third currently has female representation.
For more information on the program, how your company can take part, to apply as an individual, or to find out more about the founding partner incentives, please visit