Former FNC member from Umm Al Quwain Sheikha Eissa Al Ari addresses the council during an FNC session. Silvia Razgova / The National
Former FNC member from Umm Al Quwain Sheikha Eissa Al Ari addresses the council during an FNC session. Silvia Razgova / The National

Women elected to FNC must step up and be strong voices



The call went out and the nation’s women answered.

Now they have to be elected and they have to make themselves heard.

Last month, Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs and Chairman of the National Election Committee, said women taking part in the elections strengthened the approach adopted by the country’s leadership.

And Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, President of the Gender Balance Council, urged women to take part.

Almost a quarter of the final list of candidates – 76 of 329 – are women. While they have previously been involved in FNC elections, they never seem to rally enough support to win a seat. In the past two elections only one woman has won a seat each time.

In both, the elected woman was joined by appointed female members. In 2006, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi was joined by eight others, while in 2011 Dr Sheikha Al Ari was joined by six.

Dr Gargash believes this inability to win is because of votes being scattered too thinly, with few women able to gain united support.

But it has become evident that the presence of strong female role models is vital. The council has made decisions in recent years that have not given enough consideration to women’s rights and have been met with unhappiness in some quarters.

One of these was the inclusion of a breastfeeding clause in the Child Rights law. Lawyers and the Minister of Social Affairs, Mariam Al Roumi, agreed that making such a personal matter mandatory could result in men abusing the clause and prosecuting their wives for bottle feeding.

When this made headlines last year, many women took to social media to express their opinion. Also last year, member Ahmed Al Amash, of Ras Al Khaimah, argued to a minister that spinsters were burdening the country's finances.

Mr Al Amash said that because men could not afford to marry more than one woman, there was a rising number of unmarried women whom he claimed were costing the country and were not being productive.

Single and divorced Emirati women were baffled by Mr Al Amash’s comments and took to social media to express their views.

Most recently, Ahmed Al Shamsi, of Ajman, this year argued that foreign wives of Emiratis should not be granted child custody in the event of divorce, to protect the child's national identity.

The remark neglected any notion that the mother’s heritage was an equally important part of the child’s identity.

It also ignored the fact that in abuse cases, judges grant custody on a case-by-case basis.

Foreign wives of Emiratis spoke up to defend their rights.

But, despite these controversies, there have also been times when male members have stood up for women’s rights in the council.

These included debates to grant women greater rights, including early retirement, an increase in social benefits and helping those abandoned by their husbands.

But none of these debates led to any pledges for future reforms by ministers.

Although support from male members is welcome, there is a need for strong Emirati women on the council to fully represent their gender’s interests.

Ola Salem is a freelance journalist and a former political correspondent for The National.

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2)

Display: 6.7” LPTO Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, HDR10+, Corning Gorilla Glass

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, Nothing OS 2

Main camera: Dual 50MP wide, f/1.9 + 50MP ultrawide, f/2.2; OIS, auto-focus

Main camera video: 4K @ 30/60fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps; live HDR, OIS

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.5, HDR

Front camera video: Full-HD @ 30fps

Battery: 4700mAh; full charge in 55m w/ 45w charger; Qi wireless, dual charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Dark grey, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2), USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price (UAE): Dh2,499 (12GB/256GB) / Dh2,799 (12GB/512GB)

SPECS

Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder petrol (V Class); electric motor with 60kW or 90kW powerpack (EQV)
Power: 233hp (V Class, best option); 204hp (EQV, best option)
Torque: 350Nm (V Class, best option); TBA (EQV)
On sale: Mid-2024
Price: TBA

2017 RESULTS: FRENCH VOTERS IN UK

First round
Emmanuel Macron: 51.1%
Francois Fillon: 24.2%
Jean-Luc Melenchon: 11.8%
Benoit Hamon: 7.0%
Marine Le Pen: 2.9%

Second round
Emmanuel Macron: 95.1%
Marine Le Pen: 4.9%

Who is Ramon Tribulietx?

Born in Spain, Tribulietx took sole charge of Auckland in 2010 and has gone on to lead the club to 14 trophies, including seven successive Oceania Champions League crowns. Has been tipped for the vacant New Zealand national team job following Anthony Hudson's resignation last month. Had previously been considered for the role. 

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Kanye West

Ye — the rapper formerly known as Kanye West — has seen his net worth fall to $400 million in recent weeks. That’s a precipitous drop from Bloomberg’s estimates of $6.8 billion at the end of 2021.
Ye’s wealth plunged after business partners, including Adidas, severed ties with him on the back of anti-Semitic remarks earlier this year.
West’s present net worth derives from cash, his music, real estate and a stake in former wife Kim Kardashian’s shapewear firm, Skims.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: HyperPay

Started: 2014

Founder: Muhannad Ebwini

Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Industry: FinTech

Funding size: $55m

Investors: AB Ventures, Amwal Capital, INet, Mada VC, Mastercard, SVC

MATCH INFO

Manchester City 1 Chelsea 0
De Bruyne (70')

Man of the Match: Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabokov, Hitchens, Travolta, Trump and Other Pieces 1986-2016
Martin Amis,
Jonathan Cape

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

RACECARD

6pm: Abu Dhabi Land Forces - Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Dirt) 1,200m
6.35pm: Dubai Naval Forces - Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,400m
7.10pm: Sharjah Air Force - Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,200m
7.45pm: Ajman Presidential Guard - Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,200m
8.20pm: Dubai Creek Mile – Listed (TB) Dh132,500 (D) 1,600m
8.55pm: Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah Joint Aviation - Rated Conditions (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,600m
9.30pm: Fujairah National Service and Reserve - Handicap (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,400m


The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today