Zohra Khan: “Achieving gender balance and parity is the appropriate approach to the best use of women’s capabilities in driving economic growth.”
Dubai, UAE, 17 February 2020: Participants in the Economy Hub session, ‘Gender Responsive Budgeting’ at Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) 2020 emphasised the importance of allocating budget for gender balance to enhance the role of women as key partners in economic development. The session took place during the second day of GWFD, held under the theme, ‘The Power of Influence’.
The session was moderated by Nour El Chedrawi, Lead Projects Executive – Federal Competitiveness & Statistics Authority – UAE and featured both Zohra Khan, Global Policy Advisor, Governance & National Planning UN Women, and Stefania Fabrizio, Deputy Unit Chief, Strategy, Police and Review Department, IMF, as speakers.
Stefania Fabrizio discussed the IMF’s report for 2019. The report indicates that half of the world’s working-age population are women, 50% of whom are in business sectors, compared to 80% of men. The report estimates a loss of wealth due to the gender gap of 10% of GDP in advanced economies, and over 30% in the MENA region.
Stefania also highlighted the importance of enhancing the engagement of women in the workforce, particularly in developed countries, which face a gender gap in education. She said investing in education within developed countries and providing the required infrastructure for the empowerment of women will have a positive impact on economic development. Stefania also discussed the significant amount of time women spend bringing water to their families in developing countries, which could be utilised in employment to create financial returns for women, their families, communities and the wider economy.
Zohra Khan touched on reports issued by the United Nations, which confirm that enhanced access to education for women has not necessarily translated into the desired shift in terms of achieving gender balance and equal employment opportunities in developing and developed countries. She highlighted that women are still underrepresented in leadership and decision-making positions.
Women hold only 27% of leadership positions in government entities, companies and large corporations worldwide. Khan stressed the important role of ministries of finance in implementing financial policies and sustainable budgets that support efforts to achieve gender balance. Khan also highlighted the successful financial policies that are implemented by ministries of finance in Albania, Korea and Uganda, to enhance equality.
Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 was held at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, UAE, 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.
The Forum was organised by Dubai Women Establishment, which is led by Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and wife of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) was formed on 1 January, 1992, by a decree issued by the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum to merge Dubai Electricity Company and Dubai Water Department, which had been operating independently before then. Both organisations were established by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1959. Dubai Government fully supported the Electricity Company and the Water Department to provide Dubai’s citizens and residents with a continuous and reliable supply of electricity and water. Since then, DEWA has made considerable achievements, to be ranked as one of the best utilities in the world. DEWA provides services today to more than 900,000 customers with a happiness rate that reached 95% in 2018.
The UAE, represented by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has maintained its first global ranking, for the third consecutive year, with scores of 100% in all Getting Electricity indicators in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report. The report measures the ease of doing business in 190 economies around the world. DEWA achieved competitive results in global benchmarking, surpassing the private sector and major European and American utilities in efficiency and reliability. DEWA raised the efficiency of its energy production by using the latest technologies and adopting technological innovations, surpassing European and American utilities, by reducing losses from electricity transmission and distribution networks to 3.3% compared to 6–7% in the US and Europe. DEWA also achieved the lowest customer minutes lost per year (CML) in the world of 2.39 CML compared to 15 minutes in Europe and was also able to reduce water network losses to 6.5% in 2018 compared to 15% in North America, which is one of the best results in the world.