TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined the celebration of International Women`s Day, marked annually on March 8 in recognition of the role of women and their active contribution to political, cultural, social, and economic development.
The 8th of March has become a global happening that tackles and highlights the achievements of women and future ambitions for further progress in the field of women`s empowerment, as women are vital contributors and partners across the country`s various sectors.
The UAE has adopted a powerful stance in empowering women, setting new standards based on a unique model drawn from the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE.
This approach, drawn from the natural role of the daughters of the UAE, perpetuates in the current leadership`s vision for the future, whereby women stand as active partners and contributors in the country`s development process and play a vital role in raising future generations.
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan spearheads the journey to women`s empowerment, leading them to hold some of the highest positions in all fields, complementing the country`s strategic plan that targeted women in the early stages of statehood and focused at the time on education and empowerment.
Emirati women currently hold ministerial portfolios, in addition to presidency and membership in the Federal National Council, and represent their country as ambassadors in nations around the world, in addition to their notable role in the judiciary.
UAE women celebrated International Women`s Day and have several great achievements to their name in the past few years, responding effectively to the demands and changes of life owing to the support and encouragement of Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women`s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) in the UAE.
The UAE Constitution guarantees equal rights for women and men. The country is leading the way in several regional and global indexes on gender equality and women`s achievements, education and literacy, women`s employment, and respect for women among several social and economic indicators as well as other indicators.
The country supports the participation of Emirati women in the decision-making process, as a core component of their economic empowerment.
In 2012, the UAE Cabinet adopted a decision imposing the appointment of women on the boards of directors of all institutions and government agencies, setting the proportion of female representation at 15 percent in government institutions.
Women currently constitute 15 percent of the workforce in the public sector, while 22.5 percent of the members of the Federal National Council are women.
The current cabinet includes nine women ministers, representing 27 percent of the cabinet members.
President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has recently called for Emirati women to occupy 50 percent of the seats in the country`s Federal National Council after next year`s elections.
This decision reinforces the country`s plans towards the full empowerment of Emirati women across vital sectors.
This decision aims to further empower Emirati women and bolster their contributions to development, an accomplishment achieved in record time compared to other countries in the world.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has taken distinctive steps and appointed eight Emirati women as ambassadors and diplomats to represent the country in international forums: UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands Hessa Abdullah Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to Latvia Hanan Khalfan Alili, UAE Ambassador to Denmark Fatima Khamis Al Mazrouei, UAE Ambassador to Brazil Hafsa Abdullah Al Olama, UAE Ambassador to Finland Noura Mohamed Abdel Hamid Jumaa, UAE`s Permanent Delegate to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Dr. Nawal Khalifa Al Hosani, and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations in New York Lana Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, in addition to UAE Consul General in Hong Kong-China HE Nabila Abdulaziz Al Shamsi.
This reaffirms the vision of the wise Emirati leadership to support and empower Emirati women as an integral player in the Emirati society, as they work together with men to contribute to the advancement of the development process.
Women have set themselves apart as partners, with distinction in the diplomatic field, developing an expansive network for the UAE`s international relations and enhancing partnerships.
Currently, 175 Emirati women serve in the diplomatic and consular corps at the ministry`s headquarters, in addition to 42 women in the diplomatic corps serving in UAE`s missions abroad.
EMPOWERING WOMEN WORLDWIDE
The Government of the UAE has made the theme "Empowerment of Women and Girls" as one of the three thematic areas of action underpinning the country`s international aid policy for 2017-2021.
It is also one of the focal points of strategy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The UAE is fully committed to empowering women and girls in entrepreneurship and has thus donated US$50 million to the World Bank`s Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative (WeFi).
This initiative will help mobilize more than US$1 billion in funding for women entrepreneurs.
The UAE is also committed to making the necessary tools available to women and to supporting them through opportunities.
The "1000 Leaders" initiative is one example reflecting such action, whereby the state will provide training and opportunities for present and future generations of women, to empower them and enable them to hone their skills and abilities to become leaders in the sectors of activity of their choice, in an effort to reverse social prejudices about the division of gender roles and capacities and relegate them to the past.
Among the international aid projects that contribute to this essential cause are: women`s vocational training and support for women entrepreneurs in low- and middle-income countries and support for more than 100 projects in the health sector for women and children.
In Afghanistan, the UAE supported the saffron industry where women hold 80 percent of the production business. In Sri Lanka, the UAE also provided financial support to an institute dedicated to women`s empowerment.