Emirati women lead the way


Engineering — specifically industrial — used to be a male-dominated field.
Engineering - specifically industrial - used to be a male-dominated field.

Dubai - Despite all their achievements, Emirati women are still battling stereotypes.

By Team KT

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Published: Sun 27 Aug 2017, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 28 Aug 2017, 2:24 PM

From engineering to aviation; ministries to government departments; business ventures to board rooms - there are no fields where Emirati women have not left their mark. These inspirational women have not only ventured into traditionally male-dominated fields, but also excelled.
Engineering - specifically industrial - used to be a male-dominated field. Along came Dr Shaikha Al Maskari in the 1970s to become the first woman to work in the oil fields of Abu Dhabi. "It was in 1985 when they realised that they had no regulations for women to serve in the oil field and they started creating policies. If we want change, we have to lead it," Al Maskari, who is now 77 years old, told Khaleej Times.
Despite all their achievements, Emirati women are still battling stereotypes. Reem Al Marzouqi, an architectural engineer and the first UAE citizen to be granted a US patent for her car invention that helps people with special needs, said: "Unfortunately, the West still thinks we only think of food, camels and tents. They don't believe we have innovations, and I was happy I'm one of those who could change that idea about Emirati women."
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And that's precisely how government initiatives such as Emirati Women's Day help women in their battle. Marzouqi said: "When leaders focus on young women, they prevent us from getting distracted by demotivation."
The UAE has realised that women here are not playing catch-up with men; in most sectors, they are leading the way. As Al Maskari summed up: "I thank God I'm alive to witness this progress; to see women forming one-third of our Cabinet and taking their spots in aviation and military force. I wish my mother was alive to see how Emirati women are shining in each sector."

This is how Emirati women lead the nation

> The Federal National Council comprises of 27.5 per cent women
> Seven Emirati women are currently employed as ambassadors and council generals across the world
> The literacy rate of women in the UAE is 95.8 per cent and 56 per cent of the UAE's graduates in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses
> It is estimated that women make up 66 per cent of the public sector workers, with 30 per cent in leadership roles and 15 per cent in technical and academic roles.
> The UAE women comprise over 40 per cent of all employees in education, at least 35 per cent work in the health sector and approximately 20 per cent in social affairs.
> Total number of Emirati women investing in Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange reached 219,000 by the end of first half of 2017, with 3 billion shares worth Dh18.8 billion.
> Emirati female investors' total trading value by the end of first half of 2017 reached Dh2.7 billion, a 19.4 per cent increase compared with Dh2.26 billion during the first half of 2016
> 23,000 Emirati businesswomen run projects worth over Dh50 billion, occupy 15 per cent of the positions in the boards of chambers of commerce and industry
> Women account for 70 per cent of nationals in banking sector
> 55% of the students registered for academic education programmes in 2016 were UAE women

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