Dubai: As the UAE joins the global community in celebrating International Women’s Day on Wednesday, women in leadership roles in the UAE voiced their opinions on gender empowerment efforts in the region, which have ensured increased participation of women in the workforce and in decision-making roles.
“Our beloved country, the UAE, pays attention to women and provides them with all the tools that enhance their contribution to the development process. The vision of our wise leadership has helped the UAE pass the stage of women’s empowerment, to empower society through women,” said Khowla Al Muhairi, Vice-President of Marketing amd Corporate Communications at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) and Chairperson of Dewa’s Women’s Committee.
She referred to the UAE Gender Balance Council, which was established under the leadership of Shaikha Manal Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women’s Establishment, and wife of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, as another milestone in women’s empowerment.
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we thank our wise leadership and all women leaders who have continuously worked to empower women and provide care for families and children across all the emirates. The Mother of the Nation, Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, has played a major role in empowering Emirati women and enhancing their creativity,” added Al Mehairi.
The UAE’s leadership has an aim to raise the country’s ranking to one of the top 25 countries in the world for gender equality by the year 2021 through women’s empowerment initiatives. Currently, women in the UAE make up 66 per cent of public sector workers, and 30 per cent of them are in leadership roles, while women aged 15 years and above constitute 46.6 per cent of UAE’s labour force.
The UAE has eight women ministers, making it one of the highest rates of ministerial representation in the region. Women also occupy about 75 per cent of positions in education and health sectors, and their representation in the Federal National Council stands at 20 per cent.
The UAE also ranks first among 132 countries in the ‘women treated with respect’ indicator in the Social Progress Index 2015 report. Gulf News talked to five women in the UAE about the progress in women’s empowerment in the UAE and GCC region on the occasion of International Women’s Day.