KT For Good: Gender equality is not a competition, it's a requirement to advance nation
In the UAE, men and women don't compete with, but complement, each other, female lawmakers have said.
Published: Sun 15 Mar 2020, 10:55 PM
'We complement men'
Women have been equal to men since the country's formation. It all started with the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, when he insisted that women take part in the country's development first by giving them education and later giving them equal opportunity to work," said Maryam Majid bin Theneya, a member of the Federal National Council (FNC).
"When women pursue careers or specialties that were traditionally male dominated, some men may think that it's competition. But that's not the case. We are working along with men to complete the job, as everyone has a specific role to play," said Maryam.
Men accept and understand the value a woman brings to the table. "In the UAE, men and women are working together to achieve the country's goals and vision. By establishing a Gender Balance Council, we are complementing and taking forward what the government aims to achieve. During my career, I have been greatly supported by my father and all male relatives."
Women: Agents of change
Amal Al Haddabi, Advisor to the FNC Speaker, said Emirati women have been empowered and supported by the country's leadership. They contribute to defining the UAE's strategic direction across all sectors of government.
"I have occupied several leadership positions. The reason for my successes is the great support and encouragement of my parents and husband. I got married immediately after my graduation and have five children. But my husband has contributed a lot to help me pursue my master's degree and other courses."
She called women "agents of change" leading the country's transformation. "The UAE's investment in education and equal opportunity for employment has enabled women to become technocrats, sought for their abilities and merits. Women are not the weaker party because they know what to do and how to do it," said the lawmaker.
She said the support of the mother of the nation, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, has been key in the women's empowerment journey.
Afra Al Basti, former FNC member from Dubai, said gender parity is important for the progress of women. The UAE, she said, has worked hard towards empowering women and achieving gender balance.
"Currently, there is absolutely no gap between men and women in the UAE. What a man does, a woman can do," said Al Basti. "Women and men have equal opportunities in education and in the job market. Women hold high-profile positions in government and also head businesses in the private sector."
She noted that many young Emirati women have graduated in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and work in technical fields. "The UAE has positioned itself well internationally with regards to women empowerment and gender balance," she said. "The UAE as a young country has set an example for the rest of the world."