Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s support spurred women’s achievements, says daughter

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the leadership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid receives well-wishers on Monday at his palace in Zabeel on the 10th anniversary of his accession as the Ruler of Dubai. Wam
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This week marks the 10th anniversary of the leadership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Those 10 years are marked by many milestone achievements for women, thanks to the great trust Sheikh Mohammed placed in them, providing them with many reasons to excel.

He gave women the chance to stay at the forefront, to serve their country and participate in positioning the UAE among the world’s most developed countries, equipped for excellence and achievement.

Excellence and success is the motto of the school that Sheikh Mohammed and I are honoured to have been raised in. We followed its approach and were moulded by its principles and values.

It is not surprising to see that the main preoccupation of our leader and father, Sheikh Mohammed, is to achieve excellence for his people, nation and government.

He was raised in the school of the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who sowed in him values such as leadership, to become a pioneer and face any challenge by turning it into a success.

Sheikh Mohammed was keen on transmitting these attributes to his children and to all his people.

Allow me to tell you a little about this unique school. I shall give you a glimpse of an education that reflects my father’s belief that a good life starts with the family.

Father made me commit from an early age to a daily routine to train as a rider after school. When I was little, I used to complain sometimes and would prefer to play with my friends instead.

At the time, I did not realise that it was about more than just horse riding. It was about commitment and perseverance in order to achieve a goal, the capacity to follow a clear methodology and programme with defined steps to reach that goal, and all that required diligence, perseverance and even sacrifice.

Over the years, the broader picture became clear. I began to understand the lesson behind this commitment. I understood that my father’s methods of upbringing took on a strategic dimension, to prepare leaders capable of shouldering their responsibilities and to be pioneers in development, always a top priority.

Observers can easily see that women have always been at the heart of this development process. This stems from Sheikh Mohammed’s belief that women constitute half of society and that positivity, innovation and creative energy were never exclusive to men.

Consequently, Sheikh Mohammed empowered, supported and encouraged women and helped them to prove their worth in many fields.

Going back to my experience in the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid school, he bestowed on me in 2003 the honour to preside over the Dubai Ladies Club and entrusted me with the responsibility to develop and raise it higher.

His Highness wished to grant women the privacy and opportunity to improve their athletic and cultural lives. Building on the values acquired in the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid school, we were able, through the club, to enhance the lives of women in our nation.

However, the aspirations of Sheikh Mohammed for women have no limit. I was honoured to take part in implementing this vision and translating some of it into reality, reflecting the hopes of our leader in Emirati women, or rather in Arab women.

In 2006, Sheikh Mohammed visited me at the Dubai Ladies Club to see what had been achieved over a period of three years, and I was pleased to be entrusted with yet another mission to serve women on a larger scale, to grant them more tools for excellence and provide them with more organised support.

He entrusted me to form the Dubai Women Establishment, whose mission was inspired by his vision of the future for women in our region, allowing for great development. And that indeed has come true.

The belief of our leader and father in the positive contribution of women in elevating our nation remains strong, and Sheikh Mohammed seeks to grant women still greater roles. This was behind his directives to establish the UAE Gender Balance Council in 2015, and I was honoured to preside over it.

Through this council, Sheikh Mohammed directed us to work on reducing the gender gap in many sectors and to create a greater balance between the genders in decision-making positions, making the UAE an example in that regard.

The guidance and support of Sheikh Mohammed over the past 10 years have created a development landscape that calls on us to take up a great responsibility: to continue working with this ambitious vision until we achieve what His Highness seeks for women in our country, to reach the highest levels and prove women’s capacity to perform their obligations to their nation and people in the best way possible.

We therefore vow, before His Highness, to continue on the road he drew with wisdom and precision, to keep the UAE among the most developed and prosperous countries and for our people to be among the most civilised, with the highest levels of success and excellence.

Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and President of the Dubai Women Establishment