Dubai A first of its kind independent study assessing the role of women in politics in the UAE was released on Monday at the Dubai School of Government.

Co-authored by the Dubai School of Government's Gender and Public Policy programme and the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs (MSFNCA), the study includes interviews of every sitting member of the Federal National Council (FNC) as well as candidates who did not win any seats in 2006.

The authors of the study, which was released in the presence of Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, hope for it to serve as a resource for policy makers in the UAE.

The study is authored by Dr May Al Dabbagh and Huda Sajwani of the Dubai School of Government, and Lana Nusseibah and Shaima Gargash of the MSFNCA.

Dr May said the study was conducted at an appropriate time as UAE politics had witnessed a significant rise in women's participation since the last FNC elections in 2006, which was also the first time that half of the members of the consultative body were elected.

"After the 2006 elections, Emirati women went from no representation in the FNC to taking a quarter of the seats.

"The UAE is now No 3 in the region in terms of the percentage of seats held by women [in a parliamentary body]," she said.

Dr May said the DSG hopes to do similar studies in other GCC countries in the future.

Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State

Reem Al Hashemi holds a bachelor's degree in international relations and French from Tufts University as well as a graduate degree from Harvard University. She has served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in the UAE Embassy in Washington and appeared on several international news programmes.

Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade

Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, currently Minister of Foreign Trade, was the first woman to be appointed a minister in the UAE's history. She earned a bachelor's degree in computer sciences from California State University, and then earned a master's degree in business administration from the American University in Sharjah.

Najla Al Awadhi, Member of the Federal National Council

Najla Al Awadi is one of the first group of women to sit in the FNC, and the youngest. She is the Deputy CEO of Dubai Media Incorporated and also a board member of the UAE chapter of Young Arab Leaders. Najla started her career as a TV journalist in 2002 with Dubai Business Channel.

Mariam Mohammad Khalfan Al Roumi , Minister of Social Affairs

Mariam Mohammad Khalfan Al Roumi holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from UAE University. She has held many positions in the educational, academic and social fields. She was Undersecretary in the Ministry of Labour of Social Affairs from 1999 until her new appointment as minister.

Maitha Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State

Maitha Al Shamsi has a PhD in sociology. She was once deputy director of the UAE University for Scientific Research. Maitha was also the chairperson of the Scientific Research Board of UAE University. Maitha is an Advisor Member of the Board of Directors of the Paris-Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi.