Sharjah - Women empowerment key for sustainable development: Minister

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - WEEGS 2019 calls for legacy of inclusion to create supportive ecosystem for women in the economy.-Supplied photo

50 per cent of the Federal National Council members are women and they occupy 33 per cent of the leadership positions.

The word impossible does not exist in the UAE's dictionary, which is the reason why women occupy 66 per cent of the jobs in the public sector, said Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister for Community Development.

Speaking at a session titled 'One World = One Community' at the second edition of the Women's Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS), the minister was referring to the progress made by Emirati women since the formation of the UAE.

She stressed that empowerment of women within the UAE community was one of the main factors that contributed to the achievement of sustainable development and gender equality - two of the important goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. "Strengthening the role of women and their leading position has come through a truly wise government that believes in women's entitlement to share leadership positions with men and the availability of legislations that allow women to advance to leadership roles," she said.

UAE's initiative

She highlighted the successful experiences and initiatives of the UAE in the empowerment of women in various fields, beginning from the belief of the nation's leadership in women's entitlement to occupy senior positions without any restrictions. This had been passed down by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had advocated women's participation in leadership positions in all fields. "The General Women's Union, which was established in 1975 and supported by the Father of the Nation was the first brick laid in the foundation of women's empowerment in the country," she added.

The minister also pointed to the contribution of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, President of the General Women's Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and President of Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, who strongly supported the empowerment of women and their role in leading sustainable development in the UAE.

Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid noted that 50 per cent of the Federal National Council members are women and they occupy 33 per cent of the leadership positions. There are nine women ministers in the cabinet, which is 30 per cent and among the Emirati diplomats, there are 42 women. "The UAE has the youngest woman minister in the world; the highest percentage of female graduates; and we rank first in the Arab world and 26th in the world in the UNDP 2019 Gender Equality Index."

The minister concluded: "We do not worry about the future in the UAE because we perceive that each challenge can generate a positive opportunity, which can lead to useful achievements in women's empowerment."

Being held under the theme 'Drivers of Change', the two-day summit features 18 theme-specific sessions that bring together a host of local and global experts, women empowerment advocates and senior industry figures to address development horizons and opportunities available to women across four pillars: gender-responsive procurement, women's participation in value chains, the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs), and women's access to finance.

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Afkar Abdullah

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