eBoard platform by DFM and DWE is streamlining application process for board positions at DFM-listed companies. One third of DFM-listed companies already has female representation on boards.
February 17th, 2020, Dubai (UAE): Women’s growing presence and positive impact on boards are gaining momentum due to continued efforts to achieve gender equality. At the Economy Hub of Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020, panellists discussing the powerful role women can play on company boards, said that numerous initiatives on a global level and in the UAE to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – particular Number 5 on Gender Equality – have been pivotal in strengthening the presence of women on boards.
Speakers included Fahima Al Bastaki, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Development Division, Dubai Financial Market; Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din, Chief Executive Officer, Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance; and Vanessa Abernethy, Committee Member of 100 Women in Finance, UAE Chapter.
International institutions are one of the main drivers behind the expansion of women’s presence on boards, as they are increasingly factoring in gender balance in their investment decisions. More than 2,300 investment management firms representing $86 trillion in assets under management, have pledged to integrate ESG factors (Environmental, Social and Governance) in their investment decisions by becoming signatories of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
The panellists made reference to the UAE’s numerous initiatives launched in line with the leadership’s vison on women empowerment, as well as the productive collaboration of various entities to qualify women for board memberships.
Fahima Al Bastaki: DFM looking to further presence of women in line with the UAE’s women empowerment and gender balance strategy
Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din: Board members must show they have the ability to offer a holistic view on strategy, an openness to network, self-confidence, and qualifications to be prepared
Vanessa Abernethy: Diversity on boards brings better bottom-line performance, and to diversify right now we need more women on boards
Within this context, the DFM is encouraging its listed companies to further attract superb cadres to its boards, considering the positive impact on board performance and strategic guidance of companies.
“Currently, one third of the DFM-listed companies has women board members and we are looking to further women presence in line with the UAE’s women empowerment and gender balance strategy, as well as the corporate governance requirements issued by the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA),” said Fahima Bastaki, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Development Division, Dubai Financial Market.
“In 2019, the DFM launched, in cooperation with the Dubai Women Establishment (DWE), the first of its kind eBoard platform, a seamless online linkage between listed companies and UAE nationals looking to assume board memberships,” she added.
From his side, Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din, Chief Executive Officer, Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance, explained that gender diversity on boards leads to better performance of boards and organisations. He also emphasised the importance of women being well prepared for board membership and how to approach companies to become board members.
He said: “Be yourself, be authentic, and be prepared to add value. Future board members need to show they have the ability to offer a holistic view on strategy, an openness to network, self-confidence, and the qualifications to ensure they are prepared.” Dr. Gamal El Din said it also helps to have a good understanding of finance.
“The UAE is a diverse country with diverse cultures, so naturally people will offer different views and as a result, decisions will be sounder. Diversity on boards brings better bottom-line performance, and to diversify right now, we need more women on boards,” said Vanessa Abernethy, Committee Member of 100 Women in Finance, UAE Chapter.
She added: “One of the things that we as women are not very good at, is self-promotion. Yes, it takes time and energy to do things that raise your profile, but it’s crucial to engage – whether it’s networking, writing an article, or speaking at an event.”
The panellists agreed that the necessary expertise might vary from position to position, and that an understanding of best practices and corporate governance rules is helpful to join company boards and specialised board committees.
Public recognition of the powerful contribution of women on boards and the associated economic benefits, is part of how Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 aims to positively impact a better future for all. The Forum was organised by Dubai Women Establishment, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai.
About Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020:
Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) 2020 is an international event being held on February 16-17, 2020 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is organised by Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.
Building on its theme ‘The Power of Influence’, GWFD 2020 offers a global platform to discuss improved policies and foster partnerships that further women’s positive impact across four key areas: government, economy, society, and future. The event aims to engage over 3,000 attendees – including global leaders, public and private sector experts, as well as entrepreneurs, academics and students – through workshops and keynote sessions.
The Forum’s Knowledge Partner is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Alongside the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), DWE is also co-organising the We-Fi MENA Regional Summit – a side-line event that will host entrepreneurs from the region’s emerging economies.
In line with the UAE’s ongoing commitment to advance gender balance across all sectors, GWFD 2020 will drive female engagement and participation in the workforce, and is a testament to the country’s position as a global role model for the advancement of women.
About Dubai Women Establishment:
Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) was formed in 2006 as a statutory body of Dubai Government by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai. DWE is headed by Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The Establishment’s mission is to advance the engagement and socio-economic participation of women across various sectors and fields. DWE’s strategic plan 2017-2021 focuses on providing recommendations to shape policies; fostering strategic partnerships; developing capacity-building programmes; as well as conducting in-depth research and facilitating the exchange of knowledge by organising global events and leading initiatives.