Global Law Firm Dentons Collaborates with UN Women on Survey of International Policy Measures

Dubai—Dentons offices supported UN Women by conducting research in 30 jurisdictions across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia on gender-responsive procurement (GRP) as a tool to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals. The findings form part of an overall report providing a comparative snapshot of regulatory and policy measures, and international and national legal norms.

At a special event organised by UN Women and NAMA Women Advancement at Dubai Expo 2020 on Tuesday, 18 January 2022, the report findings were discussed alongside a panel session titled “Emerging trends in GRP in the public and private sectors” with participation from Mhairi Main Garcia, Head of Dentons’ Middle East Energy, Transport and Infrastructure Group; John Balouziyeh, Dentons Senior Legal Consultant; Raghad Aljughaiman, Project Expert in the Office of Entrepreneurship at the UAE Ministry of Economy; and Nihal Hashish, Senior Purchasing Manager at P&G. The panel was moderated by Jennifer Bland, UN Women Entrepreneurship Expert.

In her comments, Mhairi Main Garcia highlighted “the significance of GRP to the Middle East region, considering the massive energy and infrastructure projects being procured by government sectors which are traditionally male-dominated in terms of workforce and business ownership”. John Balouziyeh provided the international human rights law framework for women’s advancement and GRP, and highlighted best practices found in Dentons’ research across 30 jurisdictions.

Dr Mouza Al Shehhi, Director of the UN Women UAE Liaison Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council, commented that GRP has “emerged as a concrete strategy to achieve women’s economic empowerment and advance the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 5 which pinpoints gender equality”. In her comments, Dr Al Shehhi emphasised that gender-responsive procurement is not only about driving social outcomes through sourcing practices that focus on gender equality, women’s empowerment and sustainability, but also about optimising entire national economies.

“As a signatory to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, Dentons is committed to advancing gender parity and women’s empowerment in the workplace and community. We stand in solidarity with UN Women in achieving gender equality, which requires an unwavering commitment to amplifying women’s voices,” said Elliott Portnoy, Dentons’ Global CEO.

Dentons is committed to a strategic approach to Inclusion and Diversity, to better serve our clients. A long-standing pro bono partner with UN Women, Dentons currently has several other major projects under way, with teams continuing to work to promote justice for women and girls in the 189 communities Dentons serves around the world.

“We are delighted to partner with UN Women in this important initiative to further advocate women’s positioning in industry,” said Alastair Young, Managing Partner – Dentons Middle East. “Our multi-year research across 30 jurisdictions around the world makes clear key global challenges will not be overcome if women – representing half of the population – are excluded from historically male-dominated social and business communities.”

Dentons and UN Women plan to launch the multi-jurisdictional GRP report on International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022.