Women's group keen on housewives taking their place among workforce

Programme offers training in entrepreneurship and professional development skills.

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The General Women's Union is working to empower low and middle income women through technology, an official said.

"Housewives are being targeted to improve their technical knowledge to qualify them professionally in order to have better chances to participate in the workforce," Reem Al Buainain, executive manager, IT centre at General Women Union told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Women In Technology conference held recently by the General Women's Union at the Abu Dhabi Health and Fitness Club.

The conference brought together the Middle East Partnership Initiative (Mepi) of the US State Department, the Institute of International Education, and Microsoft Corporation to provide substantial capacity building to partner organisations to expand their reach, sustainability and ability to serve women.

One thousand women from all the emirates participated in the programme.

She referred to a 70-year-old woman who participated in the programme to become a role model for her grandchildren. "Such programmes help increase women's self esteem as they become qualified and have enough skills to join the workforce professionally, which will [effect] the economy and arm the new generation with technology," she said.

The Women In Technology programme for the Middle East and North Africa is funded by Mepi, managed by the Institute of International Education, and implemented in collaboration with local partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

As part of the programme the General Woman's Union and four centres in Al Gharbia plan to support women's ongoing personal and professional growth.

The programme will soon expand to new partners in the northern emirates; by 2010 it will train more than 700 women in UAE in entrepreneurship and professional development skills.

According to Richard Olson, American ambassador to the UAE, the programme has trained 6,000 women in the Middle East and North Africa.