Noora Nasser Al Kerbi, the ambassador of Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak International Award for Arab Youth.

Abu Dhabi: As the UAE makes strides in women’s empowerment, opportunities for Emirati women are exponentially rising, with the newer fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, space and other futuristic areas awaiting their skill sets and participation, said Noora Nasser Al Kerbi, ambassador of Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak International Award for Arab Youth.

Al Kerbi, who is also the first Emirati student to get a PhD in the Spanish language, emphasised that both men and women have the right to choose the best positions befitting their abilities and qualifications, and use those in crafting the nation’s success story.

The UAE, which topped the global index in the “respect for women” category and ranked first in gaining gender equality in property rights in 2017, aims to be among the top in women’s empowerment by providing girls with quality education and 21st-century skills to keep pace with global developments, Al Kerbi said.

“The UAE aspires to go beyond the scope of ensuring gender equality and enable women to be pivotal members of society, contributing to development in all fields,” she added.

Al Kerbi attributes these achievements to the values espoused by UAE’s founding father, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Wife of the late President Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, who, since the birth of UAE in 1971, encouraged women to fulfil their roles in nation-building.

The vision of the founding father, Al Kerbi said, has enabled a robust picture of women’s progress and contributions to emerge in the UAE.

Today, women represent 46.6 per cent of the labour force and 66 per cent are employed in government bodies, 30 per cent of whom hold leadership roles with 15 per cent in specialised and academic positions.

The UAE government comprises nine female ministers, representing nearly a third of the total number of ministers.

“Our founding father and Shaikha Fatima fervently believed in the active role of women in our society, and encouraged Emirati women to lead in whatever honourable path they wished to embark on.”

The UAE’s national strategy for empowerment of Emirati women for 2015-21 is driven by sustainable goals, she said, and the country prides itself on its clear vision.

Speaking of how she was personally influenced and inspired by Shaikh Zayed in her career and academic achievement, Al Kerbi said that every citizen and resident of this land has a story of Shaikh Zayed. “I was personally touched by his words, attitudes, and advice that were about his life and how he encouraged us to achieve our best.”

She drew attention to the words of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who said: “We are not just empowering women, but empowering the entire society through women.”

Al Kerbi has published 22 research papers and books on community issues, women, youth and volunteer work. She is also chair and member of 21 committees and teams in the UAE and internationally.