Zarina Fernandes/Guf News lead Women police demonstrate their skills at the ?Emirati Women Breaking Barriers? Forum Organized by Corporate Communications Year 4 students which gathers the first Emirati women in their career to celebrate their stories and discuss gender, family, culture and tradition barriers through discussion panels. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Guf News

Dubai: A group of Emirati woman pioneers who were the first to break barriers and work in different occupations that were deemed taboo by society were bought together by a group of students as part of their senior projects.

The Female Emirati leaders that were invited by the Corporate Communication students included the first Emirati women to work as a pilot, paramedic, aircraft engineer, metro operator and media representative.

The seven students from the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai organised a forum titled 'Emirati Woman Breaking Barriers' in order to shed light on different Emirati woman who paved the way for other Emirati women to pursue their dreams.

During the forum the Emirati woman spoke about what it was like to pursue unusual professions and some of the gender challenges that they faced along the way.

“Being a female in a male oriented profession was very difficult not because woman are not equal to men but because you have to prove yourself more. Once, during a flight a woman came to me and told me that she was fasting but after she saw me she suddenly got thirsty and broke her fast because she was scared and nervous from having a young Emirati woman fly the plane. After landing safely however she came to me and told me that she was very proud to see a young Emirati female flying a plane.” said first Female pilot Salma Al Beloushi.

The first media representative Hessa Al Ossaily went into her profession in 1965 when she was just 15-years-old after her mother died.

“I went into my profession by coincidence because my mother died and my father was very sick. I used to work in Sharjah radio in 1965 in order to provide for my family. I believe that getting into any occupation takes hard work. I had a dream of becoming an ambassador for my country and after hard work in media I was actually able to succeed in becoming an ambassador for the UAE in the World Expo,” said Hessa.

The first female paramedic Jameela Al Za’abi also got into her profession by coincidence after she became a widow at a very young age and so had to provide for her family.

“I got married when I was just 14-years-old and my husband died when I was 19. I became a nurse in order to fulfill my father’s dream and succeeded in doing so after joining afternoon classes. One day I asked myself what my dream was and found that the ambulance sirens attracted me. My family was first hesitant but I believe that the most important tool is communication. You should sit with your family and if you are absolutely convinced and sure of what you want they will come around and eventually support you,” said Jameela.

The senior group team who organised the forum compromised of Hamda Al Khattal, Rawdha Al Jaradi, Aliah Al Sumaiti, Awatif Gaith, Latifa Nadi, Mona bin Dahi and Noora Al Shamsi.

“We wanted to bring Emirati woman who have broken barriers by working in unusual professions under one roof in order to inspire others. One of the challenges we faced is contacting these woman, it took us two months and we used social media, emails and even face-to-face communication to convince them to come” said Awatif, one of the team members who organised the event.

Awatif Added that when they were researching for Emirati woman pioneers, they did not find any book that documents the achievements of Emirati women who were the first in their profession which is why the team decided to create their own. The book includes the achievement of 37 Emirati women who were the first in their occupation and the team stated they are considering to have it published.