Emirati Women’s Day is being held this year under the theme “Preparing for the next 50 years: Women are the support of the nation” – capturing the importance women now command across Emirati society.
Women not only hold almost a third of cabinet posts in the UAE government, they are increasingly driving the private sector. There are now more than 21,000 women employers in the UAE, according to local researchers, and women business owners make up about 10 percent of the UAE’s private sector. According to government figures, women in the UAE are now running projects worth AED 40 billion.
Earlier this year, 1,400 women applied to become the UAE’s next astronauts.
All this stems from the vision of the UAE founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who believed from the beginning in women’s pivotal role in all sectors including the political, economic and social fields.
Since the UAE’s establishment in 1971, leaders have followed Sheikh Zayed’s path by investing in efforts to empower women and provide them opportunities to demonstrate their competency.
Supporting the nation
H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the “Mother of the Nation” and the chairwoman of the UAE General Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, said this year’s theme aligns with priorities set out by Prime Minister H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who declared 2020 a year of preparation for the UAE’s next 50 years.
Shaima Al Jarman, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Masdar, credits Sheikha Fatima’s leadership with helping ensure all women in the UAE are able to break the glass ceiling across industries and sectors.
Masdar, a global clean energy pioneer, has several initiatives in place to educate Emirati women and girls in renewable energy and sustainability, and leads the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) platform, which has inspired women and girls since 2015.
Masdar "is always keen to support the leadership’s vision in the field of women's empowerment and provides job opportunities for competent Emirati women in various sectors,” Al Jarman says. “Emirati Women's Day is an opportunity to shed light on the great achievements made by women in our country over the past decades.”
Celebrating the achievements
Emirati Women’s Day is all the more important this year given the nation’s focus on preparing the UAE for the next 50 years of its development, a period in which women are expected to take on even bigger roles.
Since its founding 14 years ago, Masdar has strived to empower and include Emirati women in its workforce, recognizing their exceptional capabilities and leadership skills across industry and in the renewable energy and sustainability sector.
At Masdar, 75 percent of female employees are Emirati women, which is “a testament to our commitment to ensuring that they are provided with opportunities to develop their skills and showcase their full potential in their journey to become partners in success of the company,” Al Jarman says.
Zainab Al Ali, the head of Outreach & Stakeholder Relations at Masdar, stresses that Emirati Women's Day is an opportunity to honor all UAE women and should be seen as a catalyst for motivating them to become more involved in shaping the nation’s future.
Masdar is a leading government employer in terms of hiring Emirati women and providing them with opportunities to develop their careers, Al Ali says, adding that the work environment at Masdar is ideally suited for helping women assume senior positions in sustainability and renewable energy
Fatima Al Shaigy, an assistant manager in Asset Management, agrees, saying she is grateful for the opportunities she has had at Masdar. The renewable energy sector is attracting women, she adds.
“I would like to thank the UAE leadership for their continuous support for Emirati women who have shown high competency in the roles they’ve undertaken while serving the nation, hand in hand with men,” Al Shaigy says. “As a national leader in sustainability, Masdar provides unique opportunities for Emirati women to participate in the management and implementation of some mega projects the company is developing in the region and internationally.“
Alya Alzaabi, a manager in Engineering at Masdar, said this year’s Emirati Women’s Day is a celebration of what Emirati women have already achieved, which continues to be made possible by the leadership of forceful advocates such as Sheikha Fatima, who has kept the late Sheikh Zayed’s vision alive.
As a leading employer, Masdar is committed to leveling the playing field across the company, and has many women enrolled in professional development programs. Women make up 55 percent of the company’s Emerging Leaders Program, 40 percent of its Pioneers of Success program and 80 percent of its Mentorship program.
“I’m proud to belong to a country that empowers women and respects them like the UAE,” she says. “I also recognize Masdar’s efforts in furthering our professional development and pushing us to the next level.”