United Arab Emirates Gives All Its ‘Gender Balance’ Awards To Men

 United Arab Emirates Gives All Its ‘Gender Balance’ Awards To Men

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 20, 2016 shows Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attending the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Gulf states on June 5, 2017 cut diplomatic ties with neighbouring Qatar and kicked it out of a military coalition, less than a month after US President Donald Trump visited the region to cement ties with powerhouse Saudi Arabia. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / LUCAS JACKSON

The United Arab Emirates vice-president boasted of the country’s “significant progress” on gender equality as he handed out awards for promoting equal opportunity. The only trouble was – all of them went to men.

Social media users were quick to mock after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, tweeted the awards announcement late on Sunday with a series of pictures of men.

The Dubai government media office and the UAE government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The World Economic Forum ranked the UAE 121st out of 149 countries by gender equality in education, health and participation in politics and the economy in a 2018 report.

Last December, the UAE decided that women should make up half its semi-elected advisory body when it is renewed this year.

This will increase the number of women on the UAE council, which expresses opinion about public issues including bills and government budgets, but has no role in forming or dismissing cabinets or ministers, from nine to 20.

Critics say the UAE’s laws are still highly discriminatory. Marital rape is not a crime while domestic violence is permitted as long as “assault does not exceed the limits of Islamic law”, according to Human Rights Watch.

Ayomide Oyewole

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