Today marks a significant milestone as we celebrate the eighth anniversary of Emirati Women’s Day, a commemoration introduced by the esteemed Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak. As the President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and the Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), Sheikha Fatima, also known as the ‘Mother of the Nation’, holds a vital place in Emirati society. Her unwavering dedication and visionary leadership continue to inspire generations.
Emirati Women’s Day was inaugurated in 2015 by Sheikha Fatima to recognize and applaud the invaluable contributions of Emirati women to the progress and development of the nation. This day serves as a testament to their dedication across diverse sectors such as business, government, education, healthcare, and culture. Furthermore, it highlights the commendable strides in women’s rights and opportunities within the UAE.
Notably, the date of August 28 holds profound significance, as it marks the establishment anniversary of the UAE’s General Women’s Union (GWU) in 1975. This union has been pivotal in advancing the cause of women’s empowerment and fostering their role in the country’s development.
This year’s Emirati Women’s Day is guided by the theme ‘We Collaborate for Tomorrow’, in resonance with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s declaration of 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’. This theme underscores the UAE’s resolute commitment to seeking innovative solutions to address pressing challenges in energy, sustainability, and climate change.
Sheikha Fatima emphasized, “Every year, we proudly announce an inspiring theme for Emirati Women’s Day, and this national occasion is a priority for us. This day highlights a set of objectives which aligns with the country’s global leadership in recognizing and empowering women.” She further highlighted that the UAE has successfully woven gender balance into the fabric of its social culture, reflecting the collaborative efforts of federal and local authorities, civil society, and the private sector.
The UAE’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment is underscored by various events, seminars, and activities that celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in the nation. A 2022 report by the World Economic Forum reaffirmed the UAE’s global leadership in gender equality, with remarkable achievements in indicators such as enrollment in education and women’s representation in key positions.
Of particular note, the UAE stands as a model of women’s representation, with 50 per cent of positions held by women in the Federal National Council. The country’s strong presence of women in ministerial roles, with 27.5 per cent representation in the Cabinet, further exemplifies its dedication to fostering an inclusive society.
This year’s theme, chosen by Sheikha Fatima, resonates with the collaborative ethos envisioned by the nation’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. This model ensures the active engagement of all segments of society in the UAE’s journey of development.
With the upcoming COP28 in November 2023, the UAE is poised to address pressing climate change issues. A remarkable aspect is the prominent role of women in this effort, with two-thirds of the leadership team and over 50 per cent of the administrative team female, showcasing the UAE’s commitment to recognizing the competence, excellence, and creativity of Emirati women.
Adding to this momentum, Sheikha Fatima unveiled the National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women, aligning with her vision for inclusive participation of women across sectors. The strategy focuses on strengthening families, integrating women into the labour market and emerging sectors, and developing women’s skills for the future. This holistic approach involves enhancing the legislative and regulatory environment, as well as fostering partnerships at national and international levels.
The implementation of this strategy falls under the responsibility of the General Women’s Union in collaboration with relevant government bodies, ministries, agencies, and civil society organizations. Through regular assessments and adjustments, the strategy aims to ensure the attainment of its goals.
As we celebrate Emirati Women’s Day 2023, we honour the legacy of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak and the remarkable achievements of Emirati women. Their unwavering dedication and contribution serve as a source of inspiration for generations to come, propelling the UAE toward a future of sustainable progress and empowerment.