Emirati Women's Day: A dreamer, believer, doer and achiever
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Emirati Women’s Day: A dreamer, believer, doer and achiever

Emirati Women’s Day: A dreamer, believer, doer and achiever

From space, technology, business to government positions, Emirati women have secured key positions across the country, making their nation proud

Zubina Ahmed
Emirati Women's Day

Think like a queen because this day belongs to you! Celebrated on August 28, Emirati Women’s Day is about the accomplishments and achievements of women in the UAE. It highlights the country’s journey in women empowerment, which began 50 years ago with the formation of the UAE on December 2, 1971, by the Founding Father of the nation, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who prioritised gender equality.

Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, president of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and supreme chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, announced that this year’s theme for Emirati Women’s Day is ‘Inspiring reality and sustainable future’. She praised the women of the UAE saying, “they have proven that there is no task that is impossible, due to their hard work and innovation.”

A dreamer, believer, doer and achiever, Emirati women are paving the way for many in this region by working in versatile sectors. The World Economic Forum has rated the UAE first in the Arab world, as the most gender-equal country, in its Gender Gap Report 2022. From space, technology, and business to government positions, these are the women who have secured key positions across the country, making their nation proud. To mark this special occasion, we look at some of the pioneering women from UAE who continue to empower others.

Emirati Women's DaySarah Al-Amiri: UAE’s Minister of State for Advanced Technology/ Chairwoman, UAE Space Agency
Fulfilling the ambitions of the UAE and the entire Arab region, the UAE’s Hope Probe, which successfully entered Mars’ orbit on February 9, was a celebration of the region’s abilities and aspirations. Leading from the front was UAE’s Minister of State for Advanced Technology and the chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, Sarah Al Amiri. Better known as the woman who led UAE to the Mars mission, Amiri also secured a spot in the 2021 ‘Time100 Next list’. Overseeing the agency’s mandate of guiding the space sector and its future missions, Al Amiri has been instrumental in the country’s technological developments on Earth and beyond.

Emirati Women's DayReem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and CEO of Expo City Dubai Authority
For her continuous efforts over the past several years to organise Expo 2020 Dubai, director general and now CEO of Expo City, Reem Al Hashimy received special recognition as part of the Dubai Government Excellence Programme. Expo 2020 Dubai saw the participation of 192 countries and recorded over 22 million visits during its six-month run. She led the country’s bid to host the world expo, in her role as the managing director of Expo in 2020 and a member of the Higher Committee of Dubai Expo 2020. She also serves as the UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and chairs the UAE’s National Committee on Sustainable Development Goals and philanthropic association Dubai Cares.

Emirati Women's DayNoura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development
Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi is the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Youth since July 2020, where she is responsible for fostering UAE-based cultural initiatives on both national and international levels. She develops policies, legislations and infrastructure that support cultural activities, cements the UAE’s position as a hub of digital content and media industry and empowers the youth within the community to contribute to the creative economy. She is also the president of Zayed University and chairwoman of the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science. Previously, she has held the post of Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs and chairperson of Abu Dhabi Media and twofour54.

Emirati Women's DaySheikha Mozah Al Maktoum, the UAE’s first female commercial pilot
Sheikha Mozah gave literal wings to her dreams and conquered many firsts. She is the first Dubai royal female pilot, UAE’s first female commercial pilot and the first woman to be appointed first lieutenant pilot of the Dubai Police Air Wing. In 2016, she completed the ATPL First Officer Programme from the CAE Oxford Aviation Academy. In March 2022, she became the first woman to pilot the AW609 tiltrotor, setting a new milestone for female pilots in civil aviation. She piloted the aircraft during her visit to the US helicopter headquarters of Leonardo, a global player in the aerospace, defence and security sector, located in Philadelphia.

Emirati Women's DayNayla Al Khaja, the country’s first female Emirati filmmaker
The first female Emirati film director and producer, Nayla Al Khaja’s prestigious contributions have vastly expanded the UAE film industry. In 2018, Al Khaja reached a historical milestone at the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival when she became the first Emirati to have her project, Animal, accepted by the Producers Network. She has written and directed many short films, documentaries, and movies, including Unveiling Dubai, The Neighbour, and The Shadow. As CEO of Nayla Al Khaja Films and founder of The Scene Club (Dubai’s first film club), Al Khaja supports newfound talent and continuously advocates for women’s role in cinema.

Emirati Women's DayNora Al Matrooshi, the UAE’s first female Emirati and Arab astronaut
On April 10, 2021, Nora Al Matrooshi became the first female Emirati and Arab astronaut, which set her on the path to becoming the 66th woman worldwide to go to space. Chosen from over 4,000 candidates to be trained for future space exploration missions, Al Matrooshi has worked for Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction Company, which builds oil and gas platforms for companies. Passionate about encouraging the youth within the MENA region, she went on to represent the UAE at the UN International Youth Conference in both 2018 and 2019.


Zahra Lari, the first Emirati figure skaterEmirati Women's Day
Zahra is the first figure skater from the UAE  and the Middle East to compete internationally. Lari is a five-time Emirati national champion and has beaten the odds and achieved the highest level in spins, technique and triple jumps. In 2019, young Zahra Lari proudly waved the UAE’s flag at the FISU Winter Games in Russia as the first internationally competing Emirati figure-skater. Five-time champion at the national level, in 2012, Lari broke multiple glass ceilings for muslim girls at the European Cup in Italy when she became the first-ever woman to figure-skate wearing a headscarf in front of an international panel of judges.

Emirati Women's DayMariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment
Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri was appointed as Minister of State for Food and Water Security as part of the reformation of the UAE Cabinet announced in July 2020. She is responsible for monitoring national food stocks, investing in food technology, and following up on international relations in this area. Almheiri is currently representing the UAE in the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations as well as the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture. She is a member of the Board of Directors in the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural, the Dubai Future Foundation and the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Food Systems Innovation.

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