UAE: Home of successful career-driven women
March 8 may be International Women's Day, but the UAE celebrates its strong female workforce every day
By Farhana Chowdhury
Published: Mon 29 Feb 2016, 1:00 PM
Last updated: Mon 29 Feb 2016, 3:59 PM
The UAE ranks high in terms of gender equality, with equal opportunities for women in all aspects of life - be it in business, sports, finance, science, arts, humanities, and even government and private associations that contribute towards the country's economy and future.
One of the top priorities for women from a traditional and cultural perspective may be taking care of family, but it has in no way been a barrier for the women in the UAE, who successfully perform a balancing act and have carved themselves into independent career-oriented individuals.
For example, the Dubai Women Establishment, formed in 2006 and led by Shaikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Establishment is known as the first government entity in the country that supports and focuses on women in the workforce.
Shaikha Manal herself is an accomplished artist and one of the foremost patrons of the arts in the UAE. She has always been encouraged by her father His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and her husband Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs to take on more responsibilities and leadership roles.
Al Gurg Group's Managing Directior, Raja Easa Al Gurg, is another leading name in the UAE. She ranked second on the Forbes' list of the Most Powerful Arab Business Women 2015 list. Al Gurg has contributed significantly to the economic, political, medical, and feminist advancements of the region. She is also the Deputy Chairperson of Dubai Healthcare City Authority and President of the Dubai Business Women Council.
Not too far behind is Fatima Al Jaber, Group CEO of Al Jaber Group, who ranks fourth in the list. In additional to taking over the family business in 2007, she is the first Emirati woman who was elected on the Board of Directors of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce in 2009.
On the same note, the UAE Cabinet consists of strong female leaders who excel in their field of expertise. Among these are Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance; Reem Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation; Najla bint Mohammed Al Awar, Cabinet Member, Minister of Community Development; Jameela bint Salem Al Muhairi, Cabinet Member, Minister of State for General Education; Dr Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State; Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness; Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Cabinet Member, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs; and Shamma bint Sohail Faris
Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs.
The UAE is a forerunner in the race to improve women's place in the business world. Qiyadiyat, which means "female leaders" in Arabic, is Abu Dhabi's first Emirati female leadership platform created to develop, inspire and provide networking opportunities for fellow Emirati career-oriented women.
Women are also active in the field of nuclear energy, as Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) states that 21 per cent of 1,400 employees are female. This figure is notably higher than the global average for women in the profession worldwide.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The UAE supports its strong female population via forums and special events, and continues to provide resources and a multicultural platform to grow and prosper.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY UAE-BASED ACTIVITIES
World of Women Film Fair Middle East 2016
March 5 to 7
VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates
Bringing the talents of women in media onto one platform, the event is dedicated showcase the works of female directors, producers, editors and cinematographers in the film industry. The short films aim to show the world from a woman's perspective and inspire women
For tickets and more info, visit: www.wowmiddleeast.com
More than a Woman - Art Exhibition
March 6 to April 5
The Pullman Hotel, Jumeirah Lake Towers
Dubai-based artist Susan Brooker will showcase a new series of contemporary portrait and figurative paintings of beautiful and symbolic women, in line with 2016's theme for International Women's Day "Pledge for Parity".
The paintings depict inspirational women proudly displaying their cultural heritage to demonstrate that they are more than a woman.
For more info, visit: www.artbysusanbrooker.com
Cross-business Networking by Shell Women's Network UAE
Aston Martin Showroom, Emaar Boulevard
Encouraging dialogue among female executives, the cross-business networking event will host a panel of female leaders with an aim to inspire others and discuss the gender gap in the region. Scheduled between 4.30pm to 7.30pm, speakers include Hans Nijkamp, Vice-President, Shell Iran; Habiba Al-Marashi, Chairperson of the Emirates Environmental Group; Lubna Qassim, Executive Vice-President, Company Secretary and General Counsel for Emirates NBD; Samir Kantaria, Partner and Regional Head of Employment, Al Tamimi & Company; and Deborah Walker, Partner Finance, Middle East, Clifford Chance.
To attend, e-mail: SEPI-Women-Network@shell.com
Dinner Jazz radio show - International Women's Day special
Abu Dhabi Classic FM station
Tune in between 7pm to 10pm for some soulful jazz melodies played by talented women in the genre - ranging from Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan to Eliane Elias, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves and Terri Lyne Carrington. The three-hour show will be hosted by RJ Surianah on the Abu Dhabi Classic FM radio station (Abu Dhabi 91.6; Al Ain 105.2; Dubai 87.9).
To listen online, visit www.abudhabiclassicfm.ae