In recent years, the UAE has made considerable strides towards making its financial sector more sustainable. It has notably increased female participation in the sector through new government-led initiatives and policies, such as a mandate for publicly listed companies to include at least one woman on their boards. Following these recent improvements, the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Global Gender Gap Report ranked the UAE as the second-most gender-equal nation in the MENA region. The report noted, for instance, that there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of female investors in the country.

Despite these gains, however, there is still a sizable gender gap in the country’s financial industry. Women hold just 8.9 percent of board positions, which translates into 77 out of 868 available board seats. Moreover, women comprised only about 18 percent of the total labor force, highlighting a considerable pool untapped potential. This event promoted a candid conversation about the intersection of gender, finance, and sustainability. We took a comprehensive look at the contribution and impact of women in developing sustainable finance in the UAE.

Experts examined representation in the sector and the rising trend of female investors, financiers, and executives. The conversation ended with policy recommendations on how further female involvement and leadership can continue to drive sustainable finance in the country.

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empowerME at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East is shaping solutions to empower entrepreneurs, women, and youth and building coalitions of public and private partnerships to drive regional economic integration, prosperity, and job creation.