As the nation stops to honour its women, we look at their progress and the trailblazing work of Sheikha Fatima

Emirati women are well positioned to assume a bigger role in the country’s sustainable development process, said Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi , Minister of State for Tolerance.  Pawan Singh / The National
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The country’s women are well positioned for an even bigger role in sustainable development, says Sheikha Fatima, Mother of the Nation, ahead of today’s Emirati Women’s Day.

“Thanks to the grace of Allah the Almighty and thanks to the unlimited support of our wise leadership, the women of the UAE are moving from success to success in the fields of education, career and family care,” Sheikha Fatima, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, told Aletihad, sister paper of The National.

She paid tribute to her late husband Sheikh Zayed, the Founding President, who laid the foundation for women’s empowerment, and hailed the vision of President Sheikh Khalifa in helping to continue that advancement.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, last night added his voice in praise of Emirati women and of Sheikha Fatima.

“We do not only empower women but empower the whole community through women,” Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter.

He said that Emirati women made up two-thirds of government employees and university graduates, and a third of the Cabinet.

Sheikh Mohammed described the Emirati women as the most beautiful, the best and the strongest.

“Our state will remain stronger, thanks to your diligence and perseverance,” he said. “May Almighty Allah safeguard the Mother of the Nation for us and you.”

Sheikha Fatima referred to the many initiatives launched by the GWU that helped to advance women in health care, education and social welfare.

“The UAE’s women are now well-positioned to assume a larger role in the sustainable development process,” she said. “Their efforts, their contributions and their successes in taking the lead are evident.

“We look forward to see more achievements by the UAE women and we will be with them every step of the way, providing support and setting the ground, guided by the teachings of our tolerant Islam, by the principles of our wise leaderships and by values of our heritage.”

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, said women were grateful and proud of the leadership for its unlimited support for their advancement.

Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said Emirati women had in recent decades left their mark through their significant contributions to the nation’s development.

“These contributions qualified them to earn appreciation from the top levels,’’ Sheikha Manal said.

She said the establishment of the GWU was a great leap towards the empowerment of women and upholding their status in the community.

The theme of this year’s celebration, “Women and Innovation”, recognised the significant progress made by Emirati women, who proved to the world their merit to lead innovation and excellence.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, praised Sheikha Fatima on the occasion, which was timed to coincide with the establishment of the General Women’s Union.

“We celebrate her as a good role model for Emirati women, as she set an example emulated in the achievements and philanthropy,” Sheikh Nahyan said.

Others to add their praise to Sheikha Fatima and the progress made by Emirati women included Ahmed Al Jarwan, speaker of the Arab Parliament, the Arab League and Egypt’s National Council of Wome