Emirati women are joining activists around the world to observe the International Women’s Day marked on 8th March every year.
The international event comes at a time witnessing an overall advancement for Emirati women thanks to the support lent by the country’s wise leadership and the pioneering humanitarian work of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF).
The diligent perseverance and efforts of Sheikha Fatima, the “Mother of the UAE,” to place Emirati women on an advanced level compared to other women from other countries drew regional, Arab and international attention and have borne fruit.
The UAE has proved to be a regional pioneer of women’s empowerment, as it has enabled its women to occupy leadership roles in the government and private sectors while around 70 percent of school and university students over the past five years have been female. Emirati women have occupied an advanced stature in the country’s development drive and have attained a key and effective overall role, through the political empowerment programmes launched by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Emirati women have taken on senior positions in the country, from employee to minister to the Speaker of the Federal National Congress, FNC, as well as professional positions, such as judges, doctors, engineers and soldiers.
The country has focused, since its establishment on 2nd December, 1971, on raising and empowering women to perform their natural role as effective participants in the country’s sustainable development.
The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan strongly supported and empowered women to take their rightful place in the country’s economic development and to join men in working to advance the country. “Women are the sisters of men, and there is no difference between them, as they are partners in the nation’s advancement and prosperity,” Sheikh Zayed always said.
The UAE’s wise leadership is continuing its advancement, which is best reflected in the words of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa: “We consider women as key part of the Emirati community, and they are men’s partners in all areas of work. The privileged stature of Emirati women is not a surprise, but it is the crowning of a long journey, which was established by the founding leader, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who encouraged women and empowered them to practice their rights, alongside men,” he said.
Towards this end, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said, “We have surpassed the stage of women’s empowerment, as we empower the community through women, and empower our economy by strengthening their role, and develop our government services when they take on leadership positions. The presence of women in these sectors is the logical result of the education received by our university graduates, 70 percent of whom are female.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has pointed out that the UAE is at the forefront of empowering women to perform their social role, which was established and encouraged by Sheikh Zayed.
Sheikha Fatima has become a symbol of giving and resolve, and she is now one of the key female leaders in the world, who performs a leading role in empowering women and defending their causes, not only in the UAE but also across the region and around the world.
The UAE is in the first position internationally in the index of the number of women in higher education, as well as in the index of their level of literacy.
In 2014, the UAE was placed in the first position in the Arab region in empowering women to reach leadership positions and have effective parliamentary participation.
Emirati women also participated in many local and international conferences, seminars and meetings about women, to exchange their expertise and experiences.