Zayed University advances social responsibilty & gender equality agenda through a pioneering academic partnership with UN Women

29 Aug 2021

Celebrating the Emirati Women’s Day, Zayed University (ZU) has become an ally of the UN Women Unstereotype Alliance UAE chapter, the first academic institution in the region to become an ally of the chapter. Convened by UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Unstereotype Alliance aims to tackle harmful stereotypes of women and men in media and advertising. The UAE National Chapter of the Unstereotype Alliance is focused on broadening the representation of women and men in non-traditional roles.

The alliance will drive further research and activities to realistically portray the increasingly progressive role of women in the region, and over half of people in the UAE believe that the media only portrays women and men in certain stereotypical roles. Driven by data, the UAE National Chapter will focus its efforts in its first year of operation on broadening the representation of women and men in non-traditional roles in media and advertising.

Dr. Mouza Al Shehhi, Director, UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC, said: "We've made progress dismantling harmful stereotypes in recent years. The growing interest from academic institutions, such as Zayed University, to join the Unstereotype Alliance gives us great hope that we can tackle the bias against women in media, through shaping the views of young men and women. Schools and universities are critical in shaping how young people view themselves and others, therefore removing stereotypes and advancing inclusion can happen at an early age, when they are engaged."

"Zayed University is the first academic institution to join the Unstereotype Alliance UAE Chapter and this is perhaps not surprising, given its long-standing reputation for supporting women overcome barriers for participation and success in higher education for over 20 years."

The Unstereotype Alliance, conveyed by UN Women, is a global coalition of brands, media companies and tech platforms that are committed to eradicating harmful gender stereotypes in worldwide media and advertising.

Dr. Clayton Mackenzie, Provost at Zayed University, said: “We are honored to be the first academic allies of the Unstereotype Alliance, UAE chapter, convened by UN Women, the global champion for women and the leading advocate for gender equality and female empowerment. As a national academic establishment dedicated to the education of Emirati females, our role stands with supporting and empowering women throughout the nation, region and worldwide.”

The UAE national chapter allies include Dubai Lynx and Advertising Business Group (ABG), a non-profit association of the major advertisers in the region advocating for responsible advertising and communication​.

He further added, “Research conducted on gender stereotyping in advertising in the region by ZU researchers Dr Ganga Dhanesh and Dr Gaelle Duthler from the College of Communication and Media Sciences, Dr Ali Khalil from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Dr Claire Sherman from the College of Business contributed to the creation of advertising guidelines for the industry issued by ABG. Drs Dhanesh and Khalil's findings, published in a special issue on Women in Marketing in the leading business journal, Business Horizons, were also presented at the Unstereotype Alliance Global Member Summit in May 2021. ZU’s researchers are continuing work on corporate social responsibility and gender studies, which will support the mission of the Unstereotype Alliance’s UAE chapter.”

This collaboration comes at a critical juncture with the UAE taking major strides in women empowerment and gender equality as the country celebrates Emirati Women’s Day on August 28, 2021.