The presence of women in the boardroom can have a measurable benefit on a company's bottom line, something the UAE is acutely aware of.
The federal Cabinet last week made it mandatory for companies and state enterprises to include women on their boards of directors.
The decision comes amid a growing international perception that companies perform better if women are on the board. Stock gains for companies with a market capitalisation of more than US$10 billion (Dh36.72bn) and female representation on the board outperformed that of companies with an all-male board, according to a study by Credit Suisse.
Companies with a female board director reported an average growth in net income of 14 per cent in the past six years, while profit growth at businesses with all-male boards averaged 10 per cent, according to the report, which collected data from 2,360 companies.
Last week, Dubai Quality Group elected three women to the board: Fatma Al Mheiri from the Community Development Authority; Sevil Ermin from The Nielsen Company; and Seza Vaziri from Xerox Emirates. The company said their election was a result of the directives made by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
"The election of women members is meant to support, strengthen and encourage the professional presence of women in various entrepreneurial positions, enabling them to serve the principle of accessing comprehensive development and general renaissance that boost the UAE presence in all fields," said Yousef Al Akraf, the board chairman at the company, which offers maintenance and construction services.
* Hadeel Al Sayegh