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UAE hands out ‘gender equality’ awards but none of the takers was a woman!


Abu Dhabi, Jan 30: It's not an uncommon thing in West Asia but yet it continues to make the headlines as something bizarre. In March 2017, Saudi Arabian authorities came up with a girls' council meeting in the country's al-Qassim province but the irony lied in the fact that not a single girl was present on the stage when the meeting took place.

Two years later, it's time for Saudi's regional friend United Arab Emirates to follow suit. Recently, the country came up with the 'Gender Balance Index 2018' awards and all the winners who reportedly took initiative to boost gender equality were men.

UAE hands out ‘gender equality’ awards but none of the takers was a woman!

The event earned a backlash on Twitter after the Dubai Media office shared photos of the winner of the awards online.

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The Index recognised winners in three categories - the Best Personality for Supporting Gender Balance, Best Federal Entity for Supporting Gender Balance and the Best Initiative for Supporting Gender Balance. The Twitter expressed surprise that no woman was considered worthy enough to be awarded for gender equality.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, who handed out the medals and certificates, said he was proud of Emirati women.

"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 institution," the media office quoted Rashid al-Maktoum as saying.

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However, no woman was visible on the award-giving stage.

Sheikh Maktoum "recognised the efforts" of only one woman, Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, wife of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. However, she did not win an award, the press release read.

Here are some reactions that the Twitterati came up with:

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