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Spotlight: UAE’s listed companies with 20% women on board

Silhouette of business people in a boardroom meeting. Image from
Suzanne Locke 4 August 2022
Aurora50 recently announced that the UAE’s efforts to improve gender diversity had resulted in the number of women on listed UAE boards rising from 3.5 percent in 2020 to 8.9 percent in 2022.
It follows the implementation of a quota of one woman per listed UAE board by the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) in 2021.
This summer we released a research report, in collaboration with the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) and sponsored by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), listing the five steps to take to reach an independent board role. Now, we thought we’d take some time to drill further into the latest board data…
  • Some 24 companies on Dubai Financial Market (DFM) have women on their boards, exactly half of the 48 total companies listed on the exchange.
  • Meanwhile, 44 companies on Abu Dhabi Exchange (ADX) have women on their boards, nearly two-thirds of the total companies listed on the exchange (65.7 percent).
  • Women hold 29 board seats of the total 353 seats at companies listed on DFM (8.2 percent), and 48 of the 515 at ADX (9.3 percent).
  • Eight companies listed on DFM have reached 20 percent representation by women on their boards (16.7 percent of all companies listed on the exchange), while 11 companies listed on ADX have reached 20 percent (16.4 percent of all companies listed).
Aurora50’s theory of change is that by simultaneously building the pipeline of competent women and connecting them to current board directors and chairs, we will reduce the network gap between boards and talent and that we can reach a ratio of women holding 20 percent of UAE-listed board seats within a decade.

Table 1: Women on UAE listed boards, by exchange

No. companies 48 67 115
No. companies that have women on board 24 44 68
% companies with women on board 50.0% 65.7% 59.1%
Total no. board seats 353 515 868
Total no. board seats held by women 29 48 77
% women on UAE listed boards 8.2% 9.3% 8.9%
No. companies with 20% or more women on board 8 11 19
% all companies with 20% or more women 16.7% 16.4% 16.5%
Source: Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, May 2022

Table 2: All UAE listed companies with more than 20% women on board

Company Symbol Exchange % of women on board
Amanat AMANAT DFM 33%
Al Khazna Insurance Company AKIC ADX 29%
Emirates Steel Arkan Group EMSTEEL ADX 29%
Ras Al Khaimah Company for White Cement & Construction Materials RAKWCT ADX 25%
Dubai Financial Market DFM DFM 22%
Methaq Takaful Insurance Company METHAQ ADX 22%
Apex Group APEX ADX 20%
Alpha Dhabi Holding ALPHADHABI ADX 20%
AMAN Insurance AMAN DFM 20%
Du DU DFM 20%
Emirates Driving Company DRIVE ADX 20%
Emirates Islamic Bank DFM 20%
International Holding Company IHC ADX 20%
Multiply Group MULTIPLY ADX 20%
Orient Insurance ORIENT DFM 20%
Orient UNB Takaful OUTFL DFM 20%
Ras Al Khaimah Poultry and Feeding Company RAPCO ADX 20%
Ras Al Khaimah National Insurance Company RAKNIC ADX 20%
Source: Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, May 2022

What is Aurora50 doing for women on boards?

Aurora50’s vision is to achieve gender balance in the workplace, starting with the board. Its first initiative was to increase the number of women on boards in the UAE through the Pathway20 accelerator to help women board directors gain an independent board seat.
In that time, the UAE has introduced a quota for women on boards and three of our Pathway20 graduates have secured independent board director seats.
Aurora50 has now launched Gateway, to open the boardroom door to mid-level and senior executives in the region so they can proactively map their route to their first board position.