What does it mean to be an empowered woman in the UAE?
This question is an important one – now more than ever – because of the Year of Zayed.
The Late HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding President of the UAE, was a champion of women’s equality and women fulfilling their potential to progress the UAE.
Below is a brilliant saying of HH Sheikh Zayed that encapsulates his vision for the women in UAE:
And in the year when the UAE is honouring the countless achievements of the Founding President, it’s important to pay closer attention to the issue of women empowerment in the UAE.
So, what does women empowerment mean, anyway?
Women’s empowerment has become a bit of a buzzword, but it’s so much more than that.
At the heart of it, women’s empowerment is having the ability to make your own choices. It’s about women gaining control of their lives and making decisions that benefit them. It’s about women standing up for their beliefs and values.
That’s an empowered woman.
What do empowered women look like in the UAE?
It’s impossible for women to achieve their full potential without a supportive environment.
But women in the UAE are breaking barriers and here’s how the country is helping them do it.
Just one of the latest measures taken was the new draft law passed by the UAE Cabinet that ensures women and men receive equal pay for equal work. It was announced by the HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
.@HHShkMohd : The #UAE Cabinet endorsed a bill for the first legislation that ensures equal pay for men and women. Our constitution stressed gender equality & guarantees impartiality between men and women as a fundamental right.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) April 10, 2018
The UAE Cabinet also made it mandatory for women to be on the board of directors for all government bodies and companies in 2012
The UAE took another step toward empowering the women of the country by ensuring that female employees in the public sector are entitled to a three-month maternity leave.
The UAE is successfully paving the way for women to become key decision-makers in the country’s future
And that’s reflected in some of the spectacular achievements made by Emirati women over the years.
The stories of these Emirati boss ladies are amazing and inspirational to all.
HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi
Can any list of UAE’s empowered women begin without mentioning HE Sheikha Lubna? She broke barriers by being the FIRST woman to join the UAE Cabinet back in 2004, as the Minister of Economy and Planning. Now, Sheikha Lubna is the Minister of Tolerance, working to promote acceptance and diversity in the UAE. You’ll also find her at number 36 on Forbes List of 100 Most Powerful Women 2017.
Abeer Al Khaja
This inspiring Emirati woman is one you may not have heard of. Abeer Al Khaja is a qualified CrossFit coach who wants other women to fitness a lifestyle choice. She, along with others, also started the Ana Gow running club, which aptly means ‘I am Strong’. She’s constantly working to spread awareness of healthy living and personal fitness amongst other women.
Sahar Al Awadhi
You’ll find Sahar in the pristine kitchens of Burj Al Arab as the first Emirati chef in the luxury hotel. Sahar was already working in a senior position in the corporate world when she decided to pursue her dream of being a chef. But she chose to follow her passion and put in long hours and hard work to achieve that record. Oh, you’ll want to follow her on Instagram too – her food snaps are #goals.
HE Raja Al Gurg
This amazing woman was named as the second-most powerful Arab woman in Business by Forbes. But what especially shines from her work is support and encouragement of Arab women entrepreneurs. It’s reflected in her position as the President of the Dubai Business Women Council. Raja Al Gurg embodies empowerment by constantly working toward creating opportunities for female entrepreneurship in UAE.
Nayla Al Khaja
There’s a lesson to be learned from Nayla Al Khaja and it’s to always reach for the stars! She is the UAE’s first female director and producer – with 42 movies that she has written, directed or produced under her belt. We’re star struck already. She’s also the founder of The Scene – Dubai’s very first film club. Oh, and she’s also a motivational speaker and influencer. Go figure.
These awesome women – and others – are proving that UAE champions its women and values their contribution to their various fields. These women challenging the status quo at every turn and staying true to themselves.
And with more women like this at the helm, the UAE is constantly proving itself as the model for women empowerment.