Dubai: Emirati women are reaching for the sky thanks to the UAE’s leadership and culture of family support, the country’s first female police pilot told the Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) on Monday.
Captain Shaikha Mozah Bint Marwan Al Maktoum, Lieutenant Pilot, Dubai Police, said the UAE government and social values provide all support to women.
Speaking during the ‘Game-Changer’ session at GWFD, Capt Shaikha Mozah, 23, said: “Us Emiratis are probably the luckiest citizens to be part of this great nation. Our leaders are way ahead in their vision in support of gender equality. Thanks to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] and his vision, women in the UAE are not only supported but offered all sorts of opportunities and access in the workplace, together with a stimulating environment to thrive. For this, I’m grateful and proud to be an Emirati.”
She also made special mention of her parents, outlining how they supported her throughout her life, be it her decision to study in the UK or become a commercial pilot first and then a police air-wing pilot.
Capt Shaikha Mozah, a former Emirates airline pilot, said she will “forever be grateful” to her family, adding that even with such close support, “I did have difficult times”.
Recalling her training days, she said: “There were times I was missing home, times when I could not see a positive outcome, self-doubt that had to be overcome. It was equally a physical and mental challenge and having to adjust my body to flying at different times of the day and night.”
Capt Shaikha Mozah, who takes to the skies for search and rescue missions or patrol flights in her police helicopter, added: “The truth is I may have actually had it more difficult than the guys at some point, and that was ok. I’ve always faced such situations with a positive attitude.
“Many of my instructors were actually tough with me because they wanted to make sure all the grades I got were well-earned.”
She said aviation is “a very male dominated industry” and women feel “we have to work twice as hard to prove our worth”.
“However, this is slowly changing and we’re getting more women to join.”
In October 2019, Capt Shaikha Mozah established the Women in Aviation Association, Shehana, to increase the female ratio and promote awareness.
“Our leaders have demonstrated so much faith in us. Now, it is our turn to make them proud and show them that the UAE women can represent them locally and internationally. Shehana is where I see my passion and contribution growing,” she said.
“I’m proud and extremely grateful to be serving my country being part of Dubai Police. This is a very rewarding role where I get to help the community and have a job that I love.”
She hopes her story inspires “all young females still searching for a path and show them there is still space for women in serving our country”.