Boom For Women In Business In UAE, But Few Reach Company Boards

Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The good news is that women are starting more businesses in the UAE, yet the proportion of women who are serving as board members for companies is meager. In 2018, the number of female board members stood at just 4 percent.

LONDON

The number of registered businesswomen in the UAE grew by about 20 percent last year, although females are still underrepresented on company boards, according to statistics quoted by the state news agency (WAM).

A report by the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, quoted by WAM, found that the number of businesswomen registered with the chambers increased to more than 25,000 in 2018 compared with 21,000 in 2017.

More than 50,000 trade licenses were issued to women entrepreneurs last year, with Emirati businesswoman now holding a combined 28,000 commercial licenses with investments of 30 billion dirhams ($8.2 billion), the report found.

Yet the proportion of women who are acting as chairs of the board in private sector companies in 2018 stood at just 4 percent — compared to 2 percent in 2013 — and the number of female board members stood at between 9 and 14 percent.

Hamid Mohammed bin Salem, secretary-general of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, also informed WAM that the UAE is now the regional hub for for more than 24 percent of the world’s 500 largest companies.

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