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Rare Middle East Push for Women on Boards Runs Into Culture Wall

  • Rule asks companies to have at least one woman on their board
  • Social context complicates efforts to get more women on boards
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Getting more women on corporate boards in the United Arab Emirates was never going to be easy, and the numbers after a new rule went into effect to boost their presence bears that out.

Since the country announced on March 15 that listed companies should have at least one female board member, only four of the 23 people added to such roles at firms on the UAE’s two major stock exchanges have been women, according to data captured by Bloomberg. That barely moves the needle in a country where about 96% of such positions are held by men.