Women are an integral part of any country. They are integral to the stability and progress of any nation. In the United Arab Emirates, the role played by the women in accelerating the speed of development has been an example to others.
The founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed once said that he was ‘on the woman’s side’. He believed that the woman is an equal half of a society. As such, any nation that seeks development must never let the women suffer from illiteracy or poverty.
Without a doubt, the UAE is the leader in the Gulf region in terms of female empowerment as shown by the following 15 facts.
- 66% of the government jobs in the UAE are held by the UAE. 30% of those jobs involve senior decision-making roles.
- Her Excellency Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi became the first woman to be the chairperson of a parliamentary organization at the regional level in 2018 when she was elected to the post of President of the Federal National Council.
- Illiteracy among the women has reduced to just 7.3% in 2017 from 89.8% back in 1970. In terms of literacy rate, the UAE is one of the leaders in the region.
- 95% of female high-school graduates in the UAE opt for further education at the tertiary level.
- The UAE has an official national strategy for women empowerment, chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.
- In the new government, 9 of the 40 ministers are women and that means 23% of the ministerial posts are filled by women.
- The participation rate of the women in the UAE Cabinet is one of the highest in the world. This shows the strong position that Emirati women have in the society.
- The UAE has over 20,000 female entrepreneurs, equivalent to 10% of all entrepreneurs in the UAE. This is a 58% growth since 2012.
- A new UN Women Liaison Office was inaugurated in 2016 by the UAE to fortify the partnership between UN Women and the GCC countries. This will boost efforts to ensure gender equality.
- In 2012, a law was passed in the UAE that called for mandatory female representation on all the boards of the government bodies and corporations. The UAE was the first Arab nation to implement this kind of a progressive law.
- A lot of legislation has been passed in the UAE with a view to support the equal rights of women. Some examples include the Equal Remuneration Convention and the Hours of Work Convention.
- UAE law ensures that the financial and social welfare of women are protected. In the UAE, married women have the right to marriage dowry as well as regular maintenance expenses to be given by the husband.
- The first military college for women in the region has been opened in the UAE. It is called ‘Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School.
- At the moment, there are 4 female judges and 2 female public prosecutors along with 17 female marriage officials and assistant public prosecutors in the UAE.
- 20% of the diplomatic corps of the UAE are women.