Shaping Our Present (And Our Future): Why We Must Celebrate Emirati Women's Day In The UAE

Celebrating Emirati Women's Day is extremely significant, because not only are Emirati women half of our society, but they are shaping our present, and our future.

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Last week, I visited one of my great aunts, who is in her late seventies. After sipping on Arabic coffee, I asked her, if she could go back in time, what would her dream career be. Her eyes lit up before she laughed and said that she would have loved to become a pilot, and fly passengers all over the world.

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50 years ago, this was definitely not a career option for many women from our region. Nowadays though, this is just one of many sectors an Emirati woman could pick and choose from.

Before heading home, my aunt asked me if I thought it was possible for her to chase her dreams now, if she could really be a pilot. My great aunt is perseverant, with a fiery soul, and she believes that with hard work, any dream is attainable, and that age is no barrier.

She is also inspired by our nation’s story. She has witnessed first-hand how our country rapidly grew to dumbfound people from across the world with its miraculous transformation and development.

In less than 50 years, the UAE has become a nation to follow in many facets, and this is true also on the women empowerment front. Last December, our president, H.H Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, passed a new law increasing the representation of women to 50% of the UAE’s Federal National Council in this year’s elections.

Related: UAE Passes Equal Pay Legislation To Narrow Gender Gap

“Women are half of our society: they should be represented as such,” said H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. This decision has us surpassing countries such as the US where females comprise 23.4% of its House of Representatives, as well as the UK, where women make up 32% of Parliament.

But the participation of our women doesn’t end there. On the international level, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh became the first Emirati woman to be a permanent representative to the UN. In 2017, she became the first female Arab president to lead the UN Women Executive Board.

All this is to say that Emirati women are present, and they are valuable decision makers on important different fronts as we develop and build our nation.

As an entrepreneur having worked with many people from across the world, I can confidently and proudly say that I have not seen women as hard working and dedicated to making a difference in the world as my fellow Emirati sisters. They are unstoppable, and they know that no job too small for our nation.

This is why celebrating Emirati Women’s Day is extremely significant, because not only are Emirati women half of our society, but they are shaping our present, and our future.

Today, we are celebrating the engineers and workforce who are constructing airplanes that carry travelers from across the globe.

We are celebrating the female team members aiding our first Emirati astronauts as they head to the International Space Station next month.

We are celebrating the doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, freelancers, and mothers of our country.

We are celebrating the hard work of all Emirati women, who are inspiring nations across the world to follow in our footsteps.

Related: The UAE's Empowerment Of Women Is An Example For The World To Follow

Manar Al Hinai

Written By

Manar Alhinai is an Emirati journalist, author, and brand storyteller. She is the co-founder and Storyteller-in-Chief of Sekka and the director of the Khaleeji Art Museum. For the past 10 years, Manar worked with global and regional brands, to help them narrate their stories, and connect with their audience, using the art of storytelling. 

She holds a master’s degree in Diversity Management from the University of Leeds, England. She pursued further degrees and certifications from SOAS London, University of Pennsylvania, Yale School of Management, and NorthWestern University. 

Manar is the recipient of the Arab Woman Award in 2011 and 2020.