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(clockwise from top left) Elodie Robie Guillerm, Rajwinder Kaur Saini, Nouf Al Hammadi, Ola Doudin, Nadia Ahli, and Rana El Sakhawy Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: March 8 is celebrated globally as International Women’s Day and highlights the many accomplishments of women and girls. Championing gender equality, workplace rights, and reproductive rights, the occasion also sheds light on cases involving abuse and violence against women and girls, with the aim of finding effective long-term solutions.

The UAE continuously strives to include women in all sectors of the economy. As the country continues to develop, women are making their presence felt in fields commonly dubbed male-dominated, such as aviation and politics. Women also play a vital component in UAE’s politics and its electoral process since 2006.

Gulf News spoke to a number of women ahead of International Women’s Day to find out how what motivates them.

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Nouf Al Hammadi, Emirati engineer

Al Hammadi is a 30-year old Emirati who specialises in the field of aluminium engineering. A mother-of-three, Al Hammadi is determined to not let any obstacles faze her. She joined Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) as a graduate trainee, and later worked her way to become one of the leading engineers in its technical department.

“Since its very foundation as a country, the UAE has recognised that education is key to the economic empowerment of women. Once finished with their university education, women in the UAE have several employment options ahead of them. In my case, I choose to work in Stem fields to contribute to the UAE’s development in advanced fields. I take this opportunity to thank our leaders for the confidence they have shown in our abilities,” Al Hammadi said.

Nadia Ahli, Emirati engineer

Married with four children, Ahli she manages the technology process department at EGA. One of her challenges involves being regularly exposed to high temperatures and toxic gases.

“Of course, it is not easy to work in a challenging environment on a daily basis, which includes high temperatures and physical exertion, especially when you have a family, including three children to raise,” she said.

Still, Ahli has led a team of 40 engineers and technologists on multiple ground-breaking projects at EGA She also encourages men and fathers specifically to put their trust in the women around them.

“I want to give a message to all the fathers out there: empowered women empower society. My late father taught me that I can be anything I want to be, and thanks to that motivation, I have made it. Data has proven that companies with female leaders perform better than those dominated by men, and the same is true for society. By breaking barriers and working in industries, we not only pave the way for future generations, but we also contribute to our country’s global competitiveness,” she said.

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Rajwinder Kaur Saini, Indian engineer

Married with two daughters, Saini, 43, began her career at EGA in 2008 as a process engineer, later progressing to area engineer in carbon process technical. Saini has always been passionate about science.

“Since my childhood, I had a keen interest in science, which motivated me to pursue a career in engineering. As a mother and wife, I play an important role in my family. My family always supports me in managing my time, so I feel a sense of self-actualisation in contributing to both aspects of my personal and professional life. Another important challenge is that constant learning is a crucial element in the life of any professional. Markets, technologies and processes change rapidly and my work requires me to constantly expand my technical know-how and expertise. I believe that EGA provides me with many learning opportunities to not only develop technically, but also to learn how to work and perform in a culturally diverse and industrial environment,” she said.

Elodie Robie Guillerm, corporate professional

Guillerm is the head of growth and strategy at Hub71. Hub71 is Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem that empowers creators to build strong homegrown tech companies in any sector.

“For me, moving to the UAE has been a pivotal moment in my career and gave me the opportunity to contribute to the growth of key strategic sectors, whereby I was in the unique position to support in the creation of the first aerospace industrial cluster in the country. Today at Hub71, I am also helping shape the future of innovation in Abu Dhabi and helping start-ups from all over the world to grow and scale from the UAE capital,” Guillerm said.

Rana El Sakhawy, founder and general manager

El Sakhawy is the co-founder and General Manager of MonkiBox. Her current business MonkiBox, is an early-learning company that provides parents with the necessary guidance as well as stage-based play tools to assist early brain development.

“On International Women’s Day, it is particularly important to recognise the role of parents in helping their children reach their full potential, parents are the first teachers and role models for children, and empowering mothers is a vital part of creating a world of gender equality,” she said.

Ola Doudin, founder and CEO

Doudin is the co-founder and CEO of BitOasis, a regional platform for retail investors to hold, buy, and sell virtual assets.

“Today, 99 per cent of venture capital in the Arab World goes to male founders. My hope is that we bring that to par in the region in the next decade,” the ambitious professional said.

Doudin herself received the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader award in 2022.