Home » Emirati women have a well-balanced presence locally, play a significant global role in addressing various challenges: Report

Emirati women have a well-balanced presence locally, play a significant global role in addressing various challenges: Report

by Dubaiforum

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2023 (WAM) – Today, on March 8th, the UAE is celebrating International Women’s Day to recognise the realities and challenges that women face, as well as to acknowledge the ongoing efforts towards women’s empowerment. The UAE has leveraged its global stature to support women’s issues by launching a series of initiatives, programmes, and plans to promote women in all communities, strengthen their status, and defend their rights, drawing on its local experience in women’s empowerment.

In recent months, the UAE has hosted events and launched initiatives to address the gender gap, domestic violence, social and economic marginalisation, and intellectual and cultural obstacles facing women’s empowerment globally and in the Arab region. The UAE hosted the 2023 Global Summit of Women on February 21st and 22nd, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote and run for elections. The summit was attended by international female leaders who discussed several challenges affecting women and ways to build bridges of peace, integration, and prosperity.

The Arab Declaration Summit was held two months after Abu Dhabi hosted the official launch of the Arab Declaration to End All Forms of Violence against Women and Girls. The declaration called for the adoption of strategies to address violence against women and ensure security, wellbeing, prosperity, and peace in Arab communities.

Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the Social Affairs Sector at the Arab League, stressed the importance of adopting effective legal frameworks to address related issues and lauded the role of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), the “Mother of the Nation,” in supporting the efforts to protect and ensure the rights of women.

The UAE continues to prioritize women’s participation in peace and security through the Fatima bint Mubarak Initiative for Women, Peace and Security. In November 2022, the initiative graduated its third batch of 140 female trainees from Arab and African countries, organised by the General Women’s Union (GWU) in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence and UN Women. The third batch’s students came from various countries including the UAE, Yemen, Bahrain, Liberia, Senegal, Gambia, Niger, Pakistan, Chad, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Mauritania.

The UAE has made progress in empowering women economically, politically, and socially, and considers women to be key partners in sustainable development. The recent cabinet reshuffle on 7th February included 10 female ministers, increasing women’s participation in the government to 28.5%. The country also issued a law prohibiting workplace discrimination based on gender, race, colour, and nationality. It adopted the UAE Gender Balance Council Strategy 2022-2026, aimed at making the country a global model of gender balance, with four pillars and objectives: economic participation, entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, wellbeing, quality of life and protection, and leadership and global partnerships.

The UAE was ranked first in the Arab region in the Gender Balance Report 2022 issued by the World Economic Forum, and moved up four places globally to reach 68th place. Emirati women are preparing to participate in the UAE’s hosting of COP28, with Shamma bin Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of Community Development, appointed as the COP28 Youth Climate Champion, and Razan Al Mubarak as the conference’s climate champion. In March 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the GWU and the UN Women Communications Office in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Region launched the “Climate Change and Gender Balance Initiative.”

Women in the UAE hold 50 percent of seats in the Federal National Council (FNC), 60 percent of staff in the Emirates Youth Council and local youth councils, and 24 percent of members of boards of directors of federal and local authorities. In the education sector, 76 percent of female teachers work up to high school level, and women account for 37 percent of educational cadres in higher education. In the health sector, women make up 63 percent of the labour force.

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