The following article was contributed by the Embassy of UAE to the Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, for publication. –Ed.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, the UAE attained achievements in several areas at the national level as well as at the regional and international levels, and Emirati women were at the forefront, partners in a development process that reaps successes with unparalleled determination.
The celebration of Emirati Women's Day this year comes in a distinctive context, to reaffirm the role of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, "may God rest his soul,” who laid the foundation to women’s outstanding journey in the UAE.
Emirati women have been an integral part in the most prominent achievements of the UAE during the past period, attesting to considerable role and active presence of the daughters of the UAE in various fields, as they demonstrated the extent of capabilities and competencies that qualify them to lead and manage several key and vital projects in the sectors of advanced science, space, energy and health. Their role was embodied in the arrival of the “Hope Probe” to the orbit of planet Mars, the beginning of the successful and safe operation of the first reactor at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, in addition to their success and leadership in efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic locally and globally.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Emirati women have been an integral part of the national response, to combine efforts at the national and international levels to contain the repercussions of this epidemic. They have proven their distinguished role in the first line of defense, a role that has been pivotal in the success of the remote work system. They have exerted every effort to protect and care for all family members throughout this crisis and their remarkable benevolent work has contributed to providing support and assistance to all affected groups.
Emirati women and diplomatic achievements
Emirati women have assumed distinguished positions in diplomacy, effectively contributing to weaving the country’s wide network of relations and strengthening its regional and international partnerships with all countries and extending a helping hand to societies in need of support and assistance, consolidating international and multilateral cooperation in exceptional circumstances prevailing globally.
Emirati women currently hold various diplomatic positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, where they make up 42.5% percent of the workforce.
The UAE diplomatic corps includes nine Emirati women ambassadors, in addition to one Consul General, representing the country abroad: HE Hessa Abdullah Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, HE Hanan Khalfan Al Alili, UAE Ambassador to Latvia, HE Fatima Khamis Al Mazrouei, UAE Ambassador to Denmark, HE Hafsa Abdullah Al Olama, UAE Ambassador to Germany, and HE Noura Mohamed Abdelhamid Juma, UAE Ambassador to Finland, HE Lana Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Political Affairs, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, HE Hend Manea Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to France, HE Nabila Abdulaziz Al Shamsi, UAE Ambassador to Montenegro, HE Eman Ahmed Al Salami, UAE Ambassador to Poland, in addition to Her Excellency Nariman Mohamed Al Mulla, UAE Consul General in Melbourne.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s approach in empowering Emirati women confirms the vision of the wise Emirati leadership to support and empower Emirati women as an integral part of Emirati society, and women’s active role alongside men to contribute to the comprehensive development process the country is witnessing.
Emirati women in science and advanced sciences
Emirati women have shown their active presence in the field of advanced sciences, demonstrating the extent of their capabilities and competencies that qualify them to lead and manage key and vital projects in the advanced sciences, space, energy and health sectors. This role was evident in the Hope Probe project, as Emirati women made up 34% of the team, writing a new page of the country’s history. Women also constituted 80% of the probe’s scientific team, aiming to provide humanity with the first comprehensive study of the climate of the Red Planet and its various atmospheric layers, using advanced scientific equipment designed specifically for this mission.
Emirati women’s contributions to the field of sciences and advanced sciences were also palpable in yet another historic achievement for the country: the UAE’s peaceful nuclear program, marked by the launch of safe and successful operations at the first unit of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, and its successful connection to the national power grid marking the arrival of the first megawatt of environmentally friendly electricity to homes and commercial buildings. Emirati women make up nearly 20% of the total employees of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and its subsidiaries Nawah Energy Company and Barakah Al Oula Company, one of the highest percentages in the nuclear energy sector worldwide.
Emirati women in various fields
The presence of Emirati women in the sectors of space science, technology, engineering and medicine has emerged as an important factor in achieving development goals aimed at making a qualitative leap in the national economy, with success stories in all fields.
According to the Emirates Scientists Council, the percentage of female enrollment in “information technology” is 54%, while it has reached 81% in the fields of science, and 43% in the fields of engineering, and represented 81% of Emiratis in health sector jobs and 51% of Emiratis in engineering assistant jobs in 2019.
Emirati Women’s Day comes at a time when international praise and testimonials flow for the UAE’s efforts to empower women, as the UAE ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa in the “Women, Business and Law 2021” report, issued by the World Bank, also ranking 18th globally and first among Arab countries in the Gender Equality Index issued by the United Nations Development Program for the year 2020.
This occasion also comes at a time when the UAE is celebrating its Golden Jubilee, an key occasion to gauge the country’s achievements in women empowerment over the past fifty years, and to anticipate women’s role in the second half of the country’s centenary.