Ras AL KHAIMAH // Mouza Shemaili is one of a growing number of Emirati women making names for themselves in the traditionally male dominated world of science.
As a mother of two young boys, Ms Shemaili’s days are a finely tuned balancing act between family life in Ras Al Khaimah and her studies at Khalifa University’s Sharjah campus, where she is working towards a PhD.
“I start my day so early, after the fajr prayers, in order not to be late,” she says. “After I finish my usual work at the university – almost six hours a day divided between classes, teaching and doing my research – I drive back to my family home to get my kids and start my mothering role.
“I manage thanks to my family and husband.”
Ms Shemaili, 31, is researching secure freight tracking systems of radioactive sources, which she hopes can benefit the country.
“I think that my research can help my country since the biggest project in the UAE is to produce electricity using clean energy from radioactive sources.”
Her work was one of 55 projects to receive Dh50,000 last year from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to aid young Emirati innovators.
“I loved science since I was a kid,” Ms Shemaili says. “My family encouraged me to think more in this field by providing me with books and games based on discovering new technology.
“My family and I think that the UAE has provided us with everything that a student needs to be in the science field.
“My country encourages students to be in these fields. Universities are free and I can even complete my master’s and PhD all without paying anything.”
The number of women working towards higher qualifications in science is increasing, says Ms Shemaili, not least at KU.
The university boasts an impressive mix of men and women across its science and technology disciplines, with 55 per cent of students women.
“I’m very proud of UAE women,” Ms Shemaili says. “Also I notice that the number of females is higher than the males.
“At this year’s government summit in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid [Vice President and Ruler of Dubai] said that UAE women are smart, which proves that the UAE realised and recognised the role of women in building our country.”
Ms Shemaili, who has two sons – Abdullrazzq, 3, and Abdullah, 18 months – says it is her family and husband who have been most influential in encouraging her to pursue her passion.
“The greatest challenge in my life is to balance between my role as a mother and a worker,” she says.
“I overcome this because of my family’s and my husband’s support.”