Shaikha Hind among 'celebrated' women leaders
Dignitaries from across the UAE and GCC attend the Emirates Women Awards
Nine women achievers, including Emiratis and expatriates, from diverse business fields were honoured at the Emirates Women Awards on Monday.
In its 13th year, the event was held under the patronage and in presence of Shaikh Ahmad bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Department of Civil Aviation, who congratulated winners for their effort and achievements at the Four Seasons Resort Jumeirah in Dubai.
Dr Shaikha Hind Al Qassimi, member of the royal family of Sharjah and chairwoman of BPW Emirates Club and BPW Middle East, was honoured for her contribution and support.
Who is the enemy of Arab women?
The only enemy the Arab woman facing is herself, said Dr Shaikha Hind Al Qassimi member of Sharjah royal family and chairwoman of Business Professional Women (BPW) Emirates Club and BPW Middle East.
Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the Emirates Women Award, Shaikha Hind praised the role UAE government has played in encouraging Emirati women to reach where they are today.
"Today, the Emirati woman is a minister, ambassador and a member of the Federal National Council. The government pushed women to reach the highest of her abilities and prove that she can do it."
Commenting on the current challenges women face, she said "Women are each other's enemies," she said.
"Unfortunately, they do not support each other in the workplace and their hostility is what weighs them down."
She urged women to use negative criticism as a motivation to achieve further, highlighting that with every success, hate and envy will exist.
"Anyone can achieve if they directed their energy towards themselves and focused on achieving. That's my advice to women: focus on yourself, look up to successful people and get inspired to do something even better rather than copy others' achievements," she said.
In two years and a half, Emirates club expanded in the region in countries like Egypt and Bosnia.
Another branch will be launched in Algeria this week, she said.
Al Qassimi also stated that any honour or award adds more responsibility for bigger achievements.
She noted that women have become achievers but with constant changes, they should adapt and upgrade their skills.
"The idea is not about equality. Men and women will never be the same. It's about the woman herself. She was a follower, but now she is a leader. She was at the back seat, now she is at the forefront. She was able to prove herself in every way."
Established since 2003 by Dubai Quality Group, the honorary award sheds light on women in leadership roles and recognises their achievements.
Fatma Al Mheiri, chairwoman of DQG, said that entries this year were close to 100, double last year's entries.
She added that the award's main objective is to present successful models of women to inspire future generations on taking the same path. Going by self-nomination, it acts as a motivator for successful individuals to achieve more and recognise their efforts to the public.
"This year's added value is the written feedback nominees (who did not win) received from jury members to improve on their weaknesses," she told Khaleej Times.
Laparoscopic and Obesity Surgeon Dr. Enas Al Alawi, who won the Innovation Contribution Award, said women have come a long way.
"We have achieved a lot lately. When I first started as a surgeon in 1996, it was a man's field," said the Bahraini national.
Al Alawi innovated a new surgery technique that allows scar-less operations called Notes (Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery) in Al Garhoud Private Hospital.
She noted that she never experienced discrimination in the medical field.
"Women know how to multi-task and become leaders at home and work. It is a skill we acquired over the years. Travelling around the world to learn medicine have taught me to be a leader of my team and balance my time and resources to achieve what we want," she said.
"At no point I felt discriminated against."
Diana Gedenhuys, the overall winner in the business category, echoed similar thoughts.
The founder and managing director of Outsourced Payroll Solutions (OPS), which uses advanced IT team to create integrated software for businesses, said the UAE environment has been encouraging for women to innovate.
"My challenges were external factors such as economy and business growth. Setting up the business in 2008 amidst the financial crisis posed its own challenges but I chose to go ahead with it," said the South-African national and a mother of two who came to UAE in 1998.
The award night was attended by dignitaries from across the UAE and GCC. Sponsors, jury, assessors and the team from DQG behind the EMA were awarded.
And the winners are...
Winners: Fatma Mohmmad Salem (Leadership); Maryam Mohamed AlHattawi (Strategic and financial planning); Khawla Abdullah Al Kaabi (Career Achievements); Dr. Parween Habib (Career Achievements); Dr. Ghada Hassan Al Murshidi (Community Contribution); Dr. Enas Al Alawi (Innovation Contribution); and Dr. Fatima Taher (Innovation Contribution). The two overall winners were Diana Gedenhuys in the business category and Shaikha Ahmed Al Rahoomi in the professional category.
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