Emirati Women’s Day to honour mothers of fallen

Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, had announced that Friday would be the first Emirati Women’s Day, which this year will honour women in the military.

Hessa Al Qadhi, mother of First Lt Tariq Al Shehi, 41, who died last year after an improvised terrorist bomb exploded in Manama, Bahrain, will be honoured by the nation. Reem Mohammed / The National
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ABU DHABI // The mothers of all UAE servicemen who have died during military operations will be honoured on Friday as part of the Emirati Women’s Day celebrations.

Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, had announced that Friday would be the first Emirati Women’s Day, which this year will honour women in the military.

While the mothers will be remembered on Friday, on Monday there will be a special commemoration at the GWU headquarters in Abu Dhabi for the mothers of martyrs who were killed in the military operations in Yemen.

Sheikha Fatima said it would be “a historic day for the mothers who have given their children’s lives for the nation”.

The Mother of the Nation also said that Emirati Women’s Day would “celebrate the women in military who abandoned comfort and luxury to carry the nation’s responsibility on their shoulders”.

“These models of women keep the country’s flag high and soaring between the nations, and they are badge of honour and we give them all our greetings, appreciation and praise,” she said.

The President, Sheikh Khalifa, also recently announced that November 30 would be known as Martyrs’ Day in honour of the country’s fallen.

Sheikha Fatima said the day would be a “remembrance of the honour, sacrifice and giving of the nation’s martyrs who gave their life in the protection of the UAE”.

On Wednesday, tying in with Emirati Women’s Day, the initiative Martyrs Mothers’ and Children are Ours was launched.

The campaign will introduce the mothers of fallen Emirati soldiers and police to the public, via the media, with the first visit set to take place on Saturday in Ras Al Khaimah.

Saif Al Kaabi, chief of International Golden Group, which is sponsoring the initiative, said: “The launch of the initiative comes in conjunction with President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan declaring November 30 every year to be observed as Martyr’s Day, in memory of and in tribute to the sacrifices offered by the nation’s martyrs and its loyal people, who offered their lives so as to keep the UAE flag flying aloft while they were performing their national duties within and outside the country, in civilian, military and humanitarian fields.”

Sheikha Fatima said the nation that was “interlaced with its leadership and is studious in doing the impossible when serving the nation until the UAE became a modern country and a model in its places, legislation and mechanisms in human rights and specifically women”.

She urged Emirati women to “preserve the gains achieved, and to put a greater effort, and take advantage of the available resources and political support that she has to achieve further progress and empowerment”.

Captain Huda Saeed, a policewomen with the Ministry of Interior, said people’s misconception of women in the military or police force needed to be addressed.

However, she said, Emirati women were equal to the challenges.

“No job is without challenges, but within the force we were given course and training. Women are patient and capable of accomplishment, so we try to overcome the obstacles,” she said.

Capt Saeed said choosing a career in the force did not take away her role as a wife and a mother.

“When I am at home, I am raising the next generation, but as soon as I put my uniform on I am a different person. This gives me power, and gives me greater ambition because I know I have responsibilities just like the man and I have to be strong and patient,” she said.

She encouraged Emirati women to do their bit for the nation by joining the police or armed forces.

“Women in the UAE, whether within her career or not, runs for excellence and we are more than capable,” she said.

Notable quotes:

Mohammed Al Qamzi, general manager of TransAD

“Women of the UAE are role models of leadership. They have succeeded in presenting the UAE in a strong and positive way regionally and globally.”

Saeed Al Dhaheri, assistant under-secretary of the Ministry of Labour

The leading role of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak in supporting UAE women has had a deep impact in building the capacities of women and enhancing their role in the community next to men to complete the process of development across the nation.

Moaza Al Marri, deputy chairwoman of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority Women’s Committee

We pride ourselves on the support accorded by our prudent leaders to the evolution of Emirati women and their pioneering efforts in joining the Armed Forces and demonstrating readiness to make every sacrifice for the nation, rendering them a role model to be emulated across the region.

Khawla Al Mehairi, chairwoman of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s Women’s Committee

To support its strategy and organisational vision to ensure participation of Emirati women in the development of society, and in building the nation and people, Dewa’s Women’s Committee has adopted a comprehensive approach since its establishment to support and develop working women personally, psychologically, professionally, educationally and in terms of health care and family.

Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Director of Sustainability at Masdar and Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize

I’m proud to be part of a nation that recognises the pivotal role women are playing to deliver the country’s vision for the future.