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Aurora50 announces far-reaching agreements with ADGM, ADX, DIFC, DFM and Nasdaq Dubai to drive board-level gender balance

PUBLISHED ON 22-Aug-2020
Aurora50 announces far-reaching agreements with ADGM, ADX, DIFC, DFM and Nasdaq Dubai to drive board-level gender balance

  • Significant collaboration between Aurora50 and ADGM, ADX, DIFC, DFM and Nasdaq Dubai to enhance gender diversity on UAE boards.
  • Partnership to include support for the first cohort of the ‘20 for 2020’ initiative, a flagship project of Aurora50.

 In a move with far-reaching effects, Aurora50 and the UAE’s prominent financial centers and exchanges – Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Nasdaq Dubai, have agreed on a collaboration to enhance female representation at the board-level.

As global economies restart in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects - and in particular diversity and inclusion, are coming under heightened investor scrutiny. Board-level diversity is linked with better governance and financial performance and can also contribute towards greater national competitiveness.

With companies accelerating progress towards greater board-level gender diversity, particularly in the light of pressing challenges, it is important for financial markets to provide the required support to enable this shift.

Commending this partnership, Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan,Co-founder of Aurora50, said: "Collaboration and innovation within our financial sector has contributed significantly to the UAE's position as a globally competitive market.  Greater diversity will only serve to reinforce our standing.”

“The collective effort of our supporters has already begun to move the needle by demonstrating that female representation at board-level directly correlates to higher business performance.  I am confident that, with our newest partners on board, we will be able to increase momentum and impact change. It is through such partnerships that we are able to grow our ecosystem and shape the future of women on boards,” Sheikha Shamma continued.

Aurora50’s flagship initiative ‘20 for 2020’ is pioneering efforts to develop a talent pipeline of competent, board-ready women and match them with relevant board positions. As part of the collaboration, the financial centers and exchanges will be recognised as Founding Knowledge Partners of the ‘20 for 2020’ initiative, and commit to promoting the initiative through relevant networks and channels. As part of the agreement, the Partners will also develop and deliver board specific workshops, such as finance essentials for directors, for the inaugural ‘20 for 2020’ participant cohort.

H.E. Khalifa Al Mansouri, Chief Executive of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX),remarked:

“ADX is committed to advancing women in high-ranking leadership roles and continues to engage with listed companies about raising awareness on the value of gender equality in corporate roles.  Through our partnership with Aurora50, we intend to actively participate and support the ‘20 for 2020’ board level training programs, workshops and events. We are fully convinced of the positive impact that more gender-diverse leadership will have on corporate performance and economic growth”. 

Richard Teng, CEO, Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), stated:

“ADGM is committed to support the UAE’s vision in encouraging the increased representation of women in leadership positions. The ‘20 for 2020’ initiative serves as a significant contributor in progressing gender equality in the workplace. ADGM is delighted to join forces with ’20 for 2020’ as equality forms the cornerstone of a sustainable, robust and progressive business model.”

Arif Amiri, CEO, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC),  reflected: 

“DIFC has championed gender diversity and inclusivity since establishing operations 16 years ago. During this time, we have built a reputation for accelerating women into senior positions. DIFC's three independent bodies continue to have strong female reputation in their management teams. To stay ahead, there is more we can do with the industry and other partners. Over 60% of DIFC Authority staff and 33% of people working in the region’s largest financial centre ecosystem are female, meaning the pipeline for board positions is tremendous.”

Hassan Al Serkal, CEO, Dubai Financial Market (DFM), added:

“The DFM has been accelerating its sustainability and governance efforts to strengthen board diversity and inclusion in capital markets in collaboration with various institutions in the UAE and beyond. Accordingly, we are pleased to join forces with Aurora50, ‘20 for 2020’ initiative to qualify proficient women for board directorship. The DFM has launched numerous initiatives such as the eBoard Platform, connecting listed companies with Emirati talent which has significantly helped to boost female board representation to one third of DFM-listed companies.

Hamed Ali, CEO of Nasdaq Dubai and Deputy CEO of DFM, said:

“Nasdaq Dubai is proud to be collaborating with Aurora50 and the other financial partners to further encourage women’s empowerment in the regional capital markets, in order to increase gender diversity and promote the success of the businesses that they will ably serve. Emirati and other women have already played leadership roles in the exchange’s achievements and we look forward to actively encouraging more women to take senior positions in this sector.”

Aurora50 is kickstarting the discussion around board-level gender diversity with ‘The Board Summit’, a virtual event spread over two days that brings together well-respected board chairs, directors and business figures. The event sessions have been carefully curated to stimulate thought provoking discussions on diversity and inclusion, particularly among an audience of board directors and high-potential board talent. Registrations are now open viawww.aurora50.com/theboardsummit.

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