Significant progress has been made since the announcement of the UAE’s National Strategy for Emirati Women’s Empowerment. Today, the country is a global pioneer in the field of female empowerment.
One of the main goals of this programme, which also gave birth to Emirati Women’s Day, was to place the UAE among the top 25 countries in the world in terms of female empowerment. According to the UN Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index, it ranks 18th internationally and first in the area six years later.
Furthermore, according to official figures from 2020, 77% of Emirati women enroll in higher education after completing secondary school. In addition, women account for 70% of all university graduates in the country. Moreover half of government university graduates in the Stem fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are women, which is maybe most essential for our society’s future.
Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, has a vision that is unquestionably being realized.
The Emirates Mars Mission is perhaps the most visible manifestation of this aim to empower Emirati women via education and work to date. Women made up 80% of the science crew for the project, which was the first in history to send a probe into the Martian atmosphere from the Arab world. Sara Al Amiri, the UAE Space Agency’s Chairwoman and the UAE’s Minister of Advanced Technology, was listed among Time magazine’s Next 100 most influential people in the world.
On a worldwide scale, the views of Emirati women are increasingly being heard at the highest levels of industry, enterprise, and government. Indeed, the UAE has the most women on Forbes’ list of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen in 2020, with 23.
The UAE, on the other hand, isn’t one to rest on its laurels. Especially when it comes to topics like female empowerment, which are vital to national sustainable development
Sheikha Fatima dubbed the “Mother of the Nation,” unveiled the UAE National Action Plan for the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security earlier this year. It is a first for a Gulf Co-operation Council member state, reflecting the UAE’s unwavering commitment to enhancing the role of women in all facets of life, not only in peace and security.
Women must be fundamental to important future businesses, such as renewable energy, to progress the process of sustainable development, just as they are to the UAE’s space programme.
According to the latest figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency, women still make up only one-third of all renewable energy employees worldwide. In this case, the UAE can and must be a leader and stay ahead of the global curve. We can unlock the economic potential of our young women and our country by carrying the momentum of young females studying stem fields into renewables.
The first step in creating the future economy is to educate more girls. The next, and equally crucial, step is to place them in a field where they can make a difference. To that aim, UAE must look for ways to engage the Emirati community, such as through collaborations between energy sector actors and schools, so that our young women are engaged in a sector that has the potential to turn the tide against climate change. The goal is for them to start creating a legacy of positive change in the crucial years leading up to the “decade of action.”
The UAE may increase its worldwide influence by taking these steps today. International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva remarked during last year’s Global Women’s Forum in Dubai that true gender equality might result in an additional $170 trillion in wealth. And, she added, our region is critical to achieving this.
The UAE cannot afford to ignore the global economy’s social and economic benefits from gender equality. Consider how that additional cash could be used to fund climate change and carbon capture technology research and development. How it could help hasten the transition to a green hydrogen economy. How it could be used to ensure that everyone in the developed and developing globe had equal access to clean energy. Fortunately, the UAE is home to many strong, brave, and ambitious young women who are actively planning how to make this a reality.