Abu Dhabi: It is difficult to talk about the creation of the nation without remembering the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was both the founder and leader of the UAE, said Shafiqa Al Ameri, leading businesswoman and member of board of directors of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Zayed had successfully inspired and guided the work and realise their dreams.
She told Gulf News the late Shaikh Zayed was special to women in the UAE. "[Late] Shaikh Zayed had given women their right to education and to become a major partner of men in the UAE community," she said.
"Women in the UAE should feel proud that they are now playing an effective role in serving their lovely country."
The uniqueness of the late Shaikh Zayed was in the fact that he considered women equal to men and full partners in the struggle for a better life.
UAE women are sharing in and benefiting from the country's progress. They are men's partners in all fields, added Al Ameri.
She pointed out that UAE women are no more captive to their traditional role inside their houses. They have become very active members in the UAE community as new horizons have opened for them. "I believe that the status of women in any country is one of the major signs of the social progress in that country, and the UAE women's status is high.
"There are some women in leading positions, some of them are Federal National Council members, some are ministers and some ambassadors," she said.
"The UAE's working women have progressed in all fields of life and at different levels. They have fulfilled many of their ambitions and aspirations, although there is much more yet to be tackled," said Al Ameri.
She said that UAE women have benefited substantially from the support they received from the late Shaikh Zayed and the other rulers of the UAE. The late Shaikh Zayed had worked hard to eradicate backwardness.
"He was aware that no social changes could have been accomplished without enlightenment of women and their participation in public life, in accordance with Arabic and Islamic traditions," Al Ameri observed.
This issue of the necessity of preserving traditions is something that she sees to be of great significance.
"The Arab women in our country realise the importance of maintaining our traditions because these traditions are derived from our religion of Islam and are fundamental to the development of the family and our community," added Al Ameri.
She said that the late Shaikh Zayed always believed that the UAE women would come to play an even greater role in the society.
"Shaikh Zayed the leader is no different from Shaikh Zayed the father. All UAE citizens are his sons and daughters and all of them are equal before him," said Al Ameri.
During the late Shaikh Zayed's reign, UAE women had the right to enjoy a prosperous life and had his full support to enter politics to take part in the decision-making process by becoming members of the Federal National Council.
She said the late Shaikh Zayed believed there should be no obstacles to women's participation in public life.
The late Shaikh Zayed was supported by Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, who was also determined to ensure that the interests of the UAE's women and children are given high priority in all spheres.
Both late Shaikh Zayed and Shaikha Fatima ensured that the movement to empower women attains an international character.
Al Ameri noted that the late Shaikh Zayed and Shaikha Fatima spared no effort to improve UAE women's status and the women had started playing an active role in the community at the local, regional and international levels.