Leading the way

Over the years, the UAE has become a leader in the Arab world in empowering women. Its commitment has sprung inspiration in multinational firms in the country

By Nisthula Nagarajan

Published: Mon 8 Mar 2021, 8:28 AM

Last updated: Mon 8 Mar 2021, 10:41 AM

International Women's Day is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide. The day also shines a light on the need to accelerate gender parity in all fields and areas, from pay to housework. All around the globe, there are initiatives and activities planned to commemorate this day to celebrate women's achievements and rally for gender equality.

In the UAE, women have been the key partner for the development of the country and continue to play a vital role in elevating the capabilities of the country's future generations.

The UAE is ranked as a leading country in gender equality in the region, according to the World Economic Forum's 2020 Global Gender Gap report. This achievement comes from the fundamental belief that women and men are equal partners in society. Through a series of public and private sector initiatives, women are playing an increasingly stronger role in business, military and government.

The constitution guarantees equal rights between men and women, which encouraged more women to pursue a higher education thus increasing the local employment pool. Women's involvement in decision making has been acknowledged as a key factor in the country's economic development. The UAE women hold a large percentage in several sectors; 66 per cent of public sectors, 75 per cent of public and health sectors, and 19 per cent of the chamber of industry and commerce. Two-thirds of the country's university graduates are women, of which 77 per cent specialised in computer sciences and 44 per cent in engineering, more than twice that of the United States.

Women in the UAE participate actively in the private sector in various roles. They have equal rights to economic resources, including guaranteed equal pay, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.

Aurion Business Consultants recognised that women in their firm align well with their motto of trust, excellence and delivery, evidenced by the commitment to the jobs they take up, the honesty and integrity they uphold, and their trustworthiness in every walk of life. The firm credited the seamless workflow during the pandemic to the hard work and dedication of their women workforce. They help businesses meet requirements, exceed goals and support their colleagues.

Mariam Omran Alshamsi, Head of Institutional Excellence Section, Directorate of Human Resources, Government of Sharjah; Amna Lootah, Assistant Director General, DAFZA; and Fatma Saqer AlQasimi, Strategic and Competitive Planning Officer, Department of Statistics and Community Development, Government of Sharjah are prominent Emirati women placed in high positions in the public sector who are whole-heartedly in support of the country and of Aurion's efforts to be inclusive of women in the workforce.

Leena Parwani, Founder CEO, LPH Financial Services, has made a conscious effort to make space for women at her company. As a woman in the financial advisory sphere, she feels empowered helping women clients achieve long-term financial stability. To her, the most important thing for a woman is financial independence - the ability to live life on their own terms.

UAE Vision 2021 recognises both science as well as gender equality as important to the country's overall progress. It encourages many Emirati women to foray into medicine, computer science, engineering, and space research. The alteration to the UAE citizenship law will also play a crucial role in the attraction and retention of the brightest talents, which includes women, who can play a pronounced role in helping the country transform into a knowledge-based economy.

In addition, the UAE has contributed $50 million to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), a collaborative partnership among 14 governments, eight multilateral development banks and other public and private sector stakeholders hosted by the World Bank Group. There has been a significant rise in women-owned businesses over the last five years due to this. At least 23,000 local women entrepreneurs are currently running projects worth millions of dollars. 

Thanks for being a change agent - whether at work or at home.  Let your dreams soar high and be all that you can be.  Let your magic spread love and happiness around you. Happy Women's Day!"

Ghada Sawalmah

CEO, Gargash Hospital


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