ABU DHABI, 9th November, 2020 (WAM) — Convened by UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, the Unstereotype Alliance, today launched its UAE National Chapter with a coalition of partners committed to tackling harmful stereotypes of women and men in media and advertising.
The UAE National Chapter will focus its work on broadening the representation of women and men in non-traditional roles.
The Unstereotype Alliance launched its UAE National Chapter with a core group of seven national and global companies – Etihad Aviation Group, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Omnicom Media Group, Snap Inc. and Unilever – alongside the Advertising Business Group as the UAE’s leading advertising industry association, and the Dubai Lynx, the premier festival of creativity in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The UAE National Chapter represents the first outpost of this global UN Women initiative in the Middle East region, and the sixth National Chapter of the Unstereotype Alliance, following those in Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Recent research conducted by the Advertising Business Group and Zayed University concluded that the majority of television ads in the Gulf region continue to perpetuate traditional gender stereotypes and do not realistically portray the increasingly progressive role of women in the region. Eighty-five percent of those polled in this study believe that it is the responsibility of brands to depict women and men positively.
UN Women’s Gender Equality Attitudes Study conducted in the UAE finds similar results. Eighty-eight percent of people in the UAE believe that it is essential for society to treat women and men as equals, and over half of people in the UAE believe that the media only portrays women and men in certain traditional roles.
Noura Al Suwaidi, Secretary-General of the General Women’s Union, GWU, the UAE’s leading entity dedicated to women’s empowerment, offering her enthusiastic support, said, “As the first country in the Middle East region and the sixth country in the world to host this initiative convened by UN Women, we are honoured to be able to contribute our national best practices to ensure that women are empowered in all aspects of life to achieve their full potential.”
Dr. Mouza Al Shehhi, Director of the UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC, said, “It speaks to the commitment and progress that the UAE has made on the women’s empowerment agenda, both in setting high standards of women’s inclusion and leadership in both the public and private sector.”
Sanjiv Kakkar, Chairman of the Advertising Business Group, ABG, and Executive Vice President of Unilever MENA, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine & Belarus, who played a leading role in bringing together companies to form the UAE National Chapter, said, “As founding members of the UAE Unstereotype Alliance, the ABG & Unilever are committed to using the voice, reach and influence of advertising to empower women and break stereotypes.”
Thea Skelton, Festival Director of Dubai Lynx, said, “Having witnessed first-hand the power and strength of the MENA region’s creativity in recent months, it is imperative to continue to support one another and strive for a community that reflects inclusivity and equality.”
Dr. Nadia Bastaki, Vice President, Medical Services and Corporate Social Responsibility at Etihad Aviation Group, said, “At Etihad, we have always championed women in diverse roles and created opportunities for advancement, and we’re happy to continue this tradition by partnering with the Unstereotype Alliance to influence positive behaviour change in the UAE.”
Ramez Shehadi, Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Facebook, said, “As a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, Facebook is resolutely committed to both embodying and calling for complete gender equality, putting in place principles and values that empower current women in the workplace and inspire millions more from future generations.”
Lino Cattaruzzi, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Google, said, “The advertising and media industry can have a significant impact on shaping perceptions and breaking gender stereotypes and bias. I am hopeful that with the right initiatives, progress in gender parity can be achieved in the UAE and broader region.”
Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn EMEA Emerging Markets, Middle East & Africa, said, “The Unstereotype Alliance is an important initiative aligned with LinkedIn’s vision to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce and we are extremely proud to be founding members.”
Elie Khouri, Chairman and CEO, Omnicom Media Group – MENA, said, “Since our inception, Omnicom Media Group MENA has been committed to diversity, we have always striven to be a Great Place to Work for ALL talent. In 2017, we launched the UAE Chapter of Omniwomen, an internal initiative that focuses on leadership and mentorship for women, through workshops, thought-leadership and group discussions.”
Hussein Freijeh, General Manager, MENA of Snap Inc., said, “As a company that champions personal self-expression and also curates media content seen by millions of people every day, Snap can bring a unique perspective to the Unstereotype Alliance.”