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31 January 2019 - 02:05
News ID: 443222
The United Arab Emirates stirred up a barrage of jests and memes on Twitter after sharing photos of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum giving "gender balance" awards to four men.

RNA - Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, presented certificates and medals in the categories of “best government entity supporting gender balance”, “best federal authority supporting gender balance” and “best gender balance initiative” at a ceremony held on Sunday, Middle East News reported.

. @HHShkMohd honors the winners of the Gender Balance Index 2018. The Index features three categories: Best Personality for Supporting Gender Balance, Best Federal Entity for Supporting Gender Balance, and the Best Initiative for Supporting Gender Balance. #UAE

— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) January 27, 2019

@HHShkMohd: We are proud of the success of Emirati women and their role is central to shaping the future of the country. Gender balance has become a pillar in our governmental institutions.

— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) January 27, 2019

Twitter users were quick to point out that neither the awards nor the media coverage included any women.

"All the winners are men, absurd. You are now a laughing stock," one user wrote. another tweeted that "as a media office you surely can see why putting out these pics is a really stupid idea?!"

The Media Office later tweeted again, sharing several photos, one of which showed Sheikh Mohammad and the award winners flanked by five women. Another photo showed a woman holding one of the awards before it was presented to her male counterpart.

"Oh look, a woman holding the framed certificate for someone not her," one Twitter user wrote. Another Twitter user asked, “Is there only one gender in Dubai?”

The UAE’s Gender Balance Index awards are, at least in theory, awarded to those who helped government departments make progress over the last year, as part of female participation goals set in 2015. 

Last month, the World Economic Forum ranked the UAE 121 out of 149 countries on its 2018 Global Gender Gap Report. The UAE took 134th place in terms of economic participation and opportunity.

Human Rights Watch in its annual report drew attention to the fact that the UAE's 2015 anti-discrimination law lacks discrimination on the basis of sex and gender.


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