Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Emirates' vice president and prime minister, left, next to Richard Branson watch the Hyperloop One presentation aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, April 29, 2018.
"Great to see Dubai promoting and rewarding the promotion of gender balance, but there is something missing in these photos. can not put my finger on it." posted one on Twitter.
"Mashallah, big win for gender balance", said Hayder al-Khoei, an Iraq-focused Middle East analyst.
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.
Critics pointed out the paradox of gender balance awards, which celebrate efforts to reduce the gender gap within the federal government and to promote equal opportunities, being given exclusively to male recipients.
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His Excellency Abdulla Nasser Lootah accepted the award for Best Federal Entity Supporting Gender Balance on behalf of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA).
The woman also happens to be part of the royal family and is married to Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
"Best Gender Balance Awards Ever", wrote another.
"During the Index's second edition, recipients of the Index's awards happened to be entities led by men", the UAE Gender Balance Council said in a statement after the award's received media attention.
In a news release, Maktoum said that gender equality was in the spirit of the founding father of the Emirates: "The achievements of Emirati women today reaffirm the wise vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who believed in the importance of the role of women, and their right to work and become key partners in society".
Last year, a report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights painted a grim picture of the human-rights situation in the UAE, raising concern over the torture of prisoners, injustice against foreign workers and discrimination of women in the Gulf state.