Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Mother of the Nation, has order a national strategy to support women’s empowerment and gender parity over the next 50 years.
The road map must make women partners in sustainable development, while considering their education needs and family obligations, said the chair of the General Women's Union.
Sheikha Fatima was amongst leaders to congratulate Emirati women on their achievements for Emirati Women’s Day, which was celebrated on Thursday.
Her announcement was tied to the theme of this year's event, “Preparing for the next 50 years”.
"I trust the capacity of... teams from government authorities to draft a road map for a more prosperous future that will involve the inspiring capacities of Emirati women, who are always keen to achieve the impossible along with men," she said in a statement.
From Sharjah, Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi congratulated her compatriots on the holiday and noted that all women matter, regardless of their speciality or role in life.
Sheikha Jawaher, who chairs the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and is married to the Sharjah Ruler, said the country can develop women’s skills as economic players.
Leadership, she observed, was found not only in the professional arena but in all aspects of life.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted a video tribute acknowledging women's partnership with men in the country’s development. “We lift our heads with your achievements,” he wrote.
Groups celebrated the day virtually this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and among the honourees were the Emirati women who served as frontline workers.
In an online ceremony by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, frontline workers reflected on their contributions through the pandemic and in the decades since the country’s foundation in 1971, when the emirates unified.
“The success of Emirati women in all fields is not spontaneous but it’s a tremendous effort made by those women, even before the founding of the Union,” said Moza Al Mazrouei, who works at the senior citizens department at the Dubai Community Development Authority.
Awaidha Al Marar, chair of the Department of Energy, noted Emirati women had played a leading role in the launch of the Hope Probe rocket to Mars.
“Emirati women were at the forefront of our first line of defence in the fight against Covid-19,” he said.
“They are also major contributors to the technical and scientific achievements of the UAE, the most significant of which is the recent successful launch of the Hope Probe to explore Mars.”
Hessa Buhumaid, the minister of community development, celebrated the year’s political milestone for women. For the first time, they make up half the members of the Federal National Council, following the October 2019 elections and appointments to the council.
The Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Al Tayer, said Emirati women have “flourished and attained excellence in all sectors”.
The UAE ranked 120 out of 153 countries in the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report, published by the World Economic Forum.
It was the second highest rated country in the Middle East and North Africa, following Israel (64), but the region ranks lowest globally and includes the bottom ranked countries of Yemen (153), Iraq (152), Syria (150) and Iran (148).
The report stated women and men in the Emirates are almost at par in content production and cultural careers but men held 87 and 76 per cent of engineering, data and AI jobs, in line with global trends.
Globally, four out of five of AI professionals are men, according to the World Economic Forum.
Emerging gender gaps in artificial intelligence-related skills could widen gaps in economic participation and create unintentional bias in software development.
Women’s representation in these sectors is considered critical for gender equality in the 21st century.
Sheikha Fatima launched Emirati Women’s Day in 2015.
Globally, the World Economic Forum predicts it will take 108 years to close the global gender gap in health, education, economic and political equality.