Dubai: The UAE leadership’s support, guidance and determination to engage Emirati women as active members of the community are among the main drivers enabling women to work shoulder-to-shoulder with men and have their fair share in building the future of their country, said Mona Al Merri, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Dubai Women’s Establishment (DWE).

“President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, put women empowerment among the government’s top priorities,” said Mona, who led the UAE delegation to the 10th edition of the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Deauville, France. She was speaking during the forum at a panel discussion titled ‘Women’s empowerment: Bearing Witness to Changes.’

Stressing that the UAE Constitution considers women major players in national development, and with Emirati women successfully presenting a model in shouldering responsibilities in various walks of life, Mona said Emirati women occupy 66 per cent of public sector positions, out of which 30 per cent are in effective leadership and decision-taking.

The UAE leaders’ invaluable support and continuous encouragement to women, she stressed, stem from a solid belief that women are capable not only of excelling but also surpassing expectations once they are given the right tools to unleash their potential.

Women have managed to prove themselves in vital fields such as education, business, public service, and entrepreneurship, benefiting from political stability, social peace and equal rights granted by the UAE constitution, she added.

“Emirati women have succeeded in occupying high-ranking government positions as ministers, members of parliament and ambassadors,” she said, underlining the importance of education as a fundamental pillar for women’s empowerment. She said the UAE has considered education a key element in the country’s formula of success ever since its establishment 43 years ago.

Highlighting the results of the Global Gender Gap Report issued by the World Economic Forum, benchmarking national gender gaps of 133 countries in economic, political, education and health care fields, she said the report ranked UAE first in the Mena region in terms of closing the gender gap in education, wage equality, political rights and health care.