Why does the UAE have so many inspirational women leaders?

Why does the UAE have so many inspirational women leaders?

The UAE’s leaders have always championed inclusivity and equality, and these values are still held dear by the majority of the people who call our nation home. Nowhere is this mindset more evident than within the field of women’s empowerment.

The UAE is a global leader in gender equality. According to the global Women, Peace and Security Index (WPS Index) 2021/22 , our country ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and 24th internationally in terms of women’s inclusion, justice, and security, outranking Italy, South Korea, and Japan, among many others.

While such achievements would not have been possible without the guidance of our wise and forward-thinking male leaders, both past and present, they are primarily the result of trailblazing females who have broken boundaries and stereotypes, and who continue to contribute to the success, of the UAE and the empowerment of their sisters around the world.

The UAE’s approach to education has also played a key role in women’s empowerment, not only normalising the ideals of inclusion and equality but positively reinforcing and encouraging these values throughout our nation’s societal structure. This approach has served to create a virtuous cycle whereby young girls – inspired by their Emirati role models – are growing up to be equally powerful role models for future generations. For instance, not only do women reportedly feel safer in the UAE than in any other country on the planet, but our gender representation in our parliament achieved parity in 2021.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of women’s representation in senior roles, both within the public and private sectors. This shows aspiring leaders that gender is no barrier to their success while empowering young girls and boys alike to reinforce and perpetuate the values of equality and inclusion, as well as their myriad associated benefits.

Of course, discussing women’s empowerment in the UAE would be impossible without providing a few specific examples. I’ve chosen to focus on three pioneers currently active within the political sphere since these are some of the women driving our nation’s progress through policymaking and diplomacy.

Firstly, I’d like to mention Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Youth. Having gained a wealth of political experience in her previous roles as Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development and Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, where she acted as the key link between the UAE’s Cabinet and Federal National Government, HE Al Kaabi is also Chairwoman of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54.

Secondly, I’d like to draw your attention to Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, the UAE’s Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, Chair of the UAE Space Agency and Science Lead of the Emirates Mars Mission. Despite the integral role she continues to play in spearheading our nation’s cutting-edge scientific and technological development on the political stage, HE Al Amiri still finds time to chair the Emirates Scientists Council, the Fourth Industrial Revolution Council, and the Dubai Future Academy Board of Trustees.

Last but not least, I’d like to celebrate the many achievements of Her Excellency Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation in the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. In addition to working tirelessly to maintain and strengthen our nation’s role and influence among the international community, HE Al Hashimy led the UAE’s bid to host Expo 2020 Dubai, overseeing the development, operations, and legacy of the six-month-long global megaevent.

The fact that it proved so difficult to select just three role models is a testament to the wealth of inspirational women that populate our nation. There are currently nine female ministers in the UAE Cabinet, shaping national policy across the fields of community development, climate change and environment, youth, early education, government development and the future, and more.

Encouraging though this may be, we must continue to see women fulfil influential roles because this simultaneously demonstrates how far the UAE has come and where it is heading. Sustained representation at this level will enable our nation to harness the potential of future generations of women while turning our young men into equally vociferous advocates for inclusion and equality.

But based on the UAE’s track record, I have absolutely no concerns in this regard. Our leaders–both female and male–will continue to empower young women by showing them that they can achieve anything in life, providing they have the passion, talent, and dedication to succeed.