‘The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan believed in women emancipation’
With 50 per cent of the UAE’s 40-member Federal National Council (FNC) being women, the country has the highest female representation in parliament globally. Women have played a key part in the country’s electoral process since the first FNC elections were held back in 2006.
FNC member Sara Mohammed Falaknaz said the UAE’s wise leadership has greatly helped in elevating Emirati women’s stature in all spheres. “Emirati women have been given quality education, tools and capabilities and the chance to lead and participate in the government’s decision making,” she said. “The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan believed in women emancipation and he empowered the Emirati woman since the inception of the UAE.”
She also hailed 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), for doing a “tremendous job” in elevating women and to ensure gender parity.
Falaknaz added: “Today we see a large number of women in ministerial posts and others heading very important government offices. Emirati women are now key in the country’s decision-making.”
Azza bin Sulaiman, former FNC member and director of the National Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises at the Ministry of Economy, said in the UAE, political empowerment is a “lived reality and a way of life”.
“Emirati women are among the major participants in country’s decision-making because of the government support. The leadership believed the role of women as being partners in building the nation,” she said. “It is no secret that the UAE is at the forefront globally when it comes to empowering women. This is embodied by the presence of Emirati women in political offices and all areas of work.”Driving the economy
Reem BinKaram, director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, said empowering women has a multiplier effect, helping drive economic growth and development, and benefitting societies and humanity at large.
“There are 23,000 women who run businesses worth over Dh50 billion in the UAE, and they make up 15 per cent of all board members at the chambers of commerce and industry nationwide. The UAE also has the third highest percentage of total female participation in economic activities across the GCC.
“It is a matter of pride that the level of women’s empowerment in the UAE is used as a yardstick to measure national and regional development,” BinKaram added.