Abu Dhabi: Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairperson of the General Women's Union says she is happy that the UAE's women are no longer just claiming their rights, but also exercising them.

In an interview with Zahrat Al Khaleej magazine, Shaikha Fatima said the UAE's women have come a long way since the establishment of the Federation.

She paid tribute to President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, on the 38th anniversary of the UAE's National Day.

"UAE women have never been left out of the development plans. Since the establishment of Federation, UAE women have managed to carve out a niche and to impress the whole world. Such success is a reflection of the wise policy of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa, who launched the political empowerment plans for women and opened the door for them to reach higher places in the decision and law making processes," Shaikha Fatima said.

"As we celebrate the achievements made by the UAE women, we remember with pride the march for women's progress, started by Shaikh Zayed."

She said that under a wise leadership that believes investing in people is the most viable form of investment, she was confident that UAE women would make further success.

Shaikha Fatima said the country's initiatives to develop clean energy sources was a great contribution in improving life on earth and granting future generations the opportunity for a better life.

"The selection of Abu Dhabi to host Irena's headquarters added to the achievements of our foreign policy."

Shaikha Fatima also said that the UAE spares no effort in guaranteeing elements of a happy and stable family, adding that the country's vision for family combines modernity with traditions in line with the strategies for strengthening the sense of identity and belonging among citizens.

On her role in the Arab Women's Organisation (AWO), Shaikha Fatima, who assumed presidency of the organisation for three terms from 2007 to 2009, said more achievements were in store for the organisation, currently chaired by Laila Bin Ali, wife of the Tunisian president.

During her successive terms as AWO president, Shaikha Fatima hosted and presided over the third meeting of the AWO Supreme Council, held in Abu Dhabi in May 2007. That meeting represented a prelude to the second AWO conference, held in the UAE capital in November 2008 under the theme: ‘Woman in the concepts and issues of human security: Arab and International Perspective'.

Under Shaikha Fatima's presidency, AWO saw the launching of the ‘Media Strategy for Arab Women' and the ‘Network of Arab Women in the Diaspora' initiatives.

Shaikha Fatima, who is also Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), said the Union was instrumental in empowering women through several programmes and initiatives.

"The GWU has gained prestige by taking an active part in both Arab and international activities and organisations. In 2006, the GWU in partnership with UNDP, embarked on a national initiative programme to engage the female staff of the Union and other women's organisations in building capacity through special courses on social awareness, enhancing the GWU's synergies with government and non-governmental organisations on issues relating to women's integration and providing support to productive women through the Productive Families Programme."