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The Gender Gap IS Closing!

During a recent conversation with an American visitor to the UAE, she told me that her trip had ‘turned all my preconceptions of the UAE on their head’. She will be pleased to read that the change continues.

A new labour law, which came into force on Feb 2 2022 (the biggest change since 1980), covering many aspects, including:

- employees do not face #Discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, colour, religion, nationality or ethnicity

- increases in maternity and paternity leave

- women should receive the same wage as men for the same work, or work of equal value

According to a 2021 report published by the World Bank, there are only 10 countries in the world that offer full and equal legal protection to women: Belgium, France, Denmark, Latvia, Luxembourg, Sweden, Canada, Portugal, Ireland and Iceland.

Within this group, Iceland - which proactively enforces #EqualPay laws - is seen as a success story. For Iceland’s working population of about 200,000, all large firms are required to prove that they meet the equal pay standards approved jointly by the Government, employees and Unions, and show that differential pay decisions are not influenced by ‘social characteristics' - such as gender. Organisations are permitted to pay performance-related salaries if they can prove they are paying equal value for equal work.

This approach allowed companies to closely analyse why they pay people what they do and what each job entails, which resulted in improved levels of trust by employees in their pay system. This, in turn, caused an increased sense of feeling valued as part of an #InclusiveCulture, with all of the associated benefits to the bottom line.

Addressing existing differentials will take some time - but this is an exciting development in a part of the world not usually associated with driving #Equality.

As the saying goes...'each 1,000-mile journey starts with one step'. Still a long way to go, but encouraging steps in closing the gender gap…don’t you agree?


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