The awards ceremony announcement has since been ridiculed online.
The Dubai government held its annual gender balance awards on Sunday – an initiative designed to foster gender equality in the workplace – and has been openly mocked online for awarding prizes in all categories to men.
The Gender Balance Index 2018 awards offered up three prizes for people or departments who champion women and the pursuit of gender equality in Dubai.
However, in a move that should be heralded as progressive and commendable in every way – the ceremony has been ridiculed, due to a series of images of the winners being posted online.
Certificates and medals were awarded by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, in the categories of “best government entity supporting gender balance”, “best federal authority supporting gender balance” and “best gender balance initiative” at a ceremony on Sunday.
These were a gender "personality" award, an award for a workplace initiative to make men and women more equal, and a departmental award for supporting gender balance.
The Dubai government's media office tweeted a photo of the winners after the ceremony, showing the all-male winners.
. @HHShkMohd honors the winners of the Gender Balance Index 2018. The Index features three categories: Best Personality for Supporting Gender Balance, Best Federal Entity for Supporting Gender Balance, and the Best Initiative for Supporting Gender Balance. #UAE pic.twitter.com/qE5GkYHzTo— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) January 27, 2019
"We are proud of the success of Emirati women and their role is central to shaping the future of the country," they wrote in another tweet.
"Gender balance has become a pillar in our governmental institutions."
Social media users were quick to comment on the disparaging inequality and lack of diversity shown.
Congrats, men!— Seth Cowan (@Crystal_SethLab) January 27, 2019
Wow, did The Onion hack y'all?— Earth Warrior (@Earth_Woman1) January 27, 2019
Did the wives drive you all home afterwards? Or did they just walk a respectful two paces behind whilst carrying your bags? Welcome to the 20th century!!!— Patrick Fogarty (@Pcf4) January 28, 2019
Irish Tatler is awaiting a reply from the official Dubai Press Office.
A United Nations Development Programme study from 2018 found that the UAE was the Gulf country that ranked highest for gender equality, making "significant progress" in bringing women into the workforce.
However, according to rights groups, gender discrimination is still rife in the UAE – as the legal system prioritises men’s rights in family and personal status matters such as marriage, divorce and custody of children.
Domestic violence is also permitted by UAE law as long as the assault does not exceed the limits set by Islamic law.