The UAE has been mocked over a tweet announcing the winners of awards for gender balance that featured only men.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, was shown congratulating the recipients of Best Personality Supporting Gender Balance, Best Federal Authority Supporting Gender Balance, and Best Gender Balance Initiative.
The sheikh insisted women were “central to shaping the future of the country”.
But many Twitter users questioned their apparent absence from the ceremony.
A later tweet by the Government of Dubai Media Office included a photograph showing five women standing beside Sheikh Mohammed and the male recipients, but it did not identify them.
A statement by the official Dubai Media Office meanwhile cited Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the UAE Gender Balance Council, as saying it had achieved a goal set in 2015 to reduce the gender gap across all sectors of government.
In April, the UAE cabinet approved legislation to ensure equal pay for women.
But last month the country was ranked 121st out of 149 countries overall in the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Gap Report and 134th in terms of economic participation and opportunity.
The report said there had been a reduction in the gap with regard to legislators, senior officials and managers, counterbalanced by a widening overall wage gap.
Human Rights Watch meanwhile noted in its annual report that discrimination on the basis of sex and gender was not included in the definition of discrimination in the UAE’s 2015 anti-discrimination law.