“Women are half of our society: they should be represented as such.”

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a new decree stating that women should occupy 50 per cent of the Federal National Council in the next parliamentary term.

Emirati women currently hold eight of the Council’s 40 seats. In a statement tweeted on Saturday, the government said the move would “further empower Emirati women and bolster their contributions to development”.

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H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, described the decree as a “great leap forwards in cementing the legislative and parliamentary role of women in our nation’s development”.

“Women are half of our society: they should be represented as such,” he wrote on Twitter.

The move would put the UAE among countries with the highest female representation in national parliament. Currently, Rwanda tops the world list, with women holding 61 per cent of seats, followed by Cuba and Bolivia at 53 per cent, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Earlier this year, the UAE’s Gender Balance Council revealed it was working on new legislation with the aim of making the UAE one of the world’s most gender-equal countries.

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