Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 3 December 2020

Boost for women’s role in FNC elections

More preparation would be beneficial, some decided after an event sponsored by the General Women's Union and the United Nations Development Programme.

ABU DHABI // Women will play a more prominent role than ever in this year’s election to the Federal National Council.

Political awareness among Emirati women has grown over the past few years, said Dr Khaled Hassan, a senior legal adviser at the Ministry of State for FNC Affairs.

“I believe this year we will see more participation from women,” he said. “We consider women’s political participation the first step towards empowerment.”

Dr Hassan was speaking at a workshop run by the General Women’s Union and the UN Development Programme, to encourage women to take a greater role in the political process.

Dr Ali Moosa, an adviser to the FNC and the main lecturer at the workshop, said the purpose was to “introduce and teach … the skills to run and plan an election campaign”.

Dr Moosa said that while most of the women who attended might not be ready to run this year, all were capable of managing a campaign, supporting candidates and providing advice.

High priority should be given to having informed female candidates, he said.

Dr Moosa pointed out that the concept of elections was fairly new in the region. “In the history of the UAE, there have been only two rounds.”

He said a common misconception was that female candidates focused on issues typically affecting women, such as maternity leave, but “the issues male and female candidates discuss are the same”.

He advised prospective candidates to avoid extravagant promises as these may be beyond their abilities to fulfil, with the result that “voters start doubting candidates”.

Election platforms should address specific problems of each emirate and solutions that “must be tied to the capabilities and authority of the individual and the council”.

Ahlam Al Lamki, research and development manager at the GWU, said: “Our aim is to increase political awareness and participation among Emirati women.”

Self-nominations for the election close on August 13, the first list of candidates will be published on August 23 and the election is on October 3.

More than 20 women attended the three-day workshop.

Many said they would stand for election to the council, but realised that a successful campaign would be difficult to organise in less than four months.

Instead, they would use what they learnt at the workshop to run campaigns for other candidates and set their sights on standing for the next elections, due in 2019.

“If I run then I have to win, and I will definitely run but not during this round,” said Aseya Al Haddabi, 37, a manager at the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company.

“There are so many things that I now know I must work on before taking such a step.”

Nawal Al Hanaei, 36, an engineer from Fujairah, said: “I did plan to run if my name was on the list but I am not ready yet.

“After the workshop I discovered there is still a lot of learning and research I must do before taking such a step.”

Moza Al Ameri, 48, from the Ministry of Social Affairs, plans to organise her own workshop to teach Emirati women how to run a campaign.

“I want to nominate myself and I will in the future, but not for this round,” she said.

“Four months is not enough time for me to put together a campaign that will bring me enough votes to win.”

salnuwais@thenational.ae

Updated: June 9, 2015 04:00 AM

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