Women are being encouraged to consider a career in sustainability and renewable energy through mentoring by female role models.
At the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy platform, which was held on Wednesday afternoon as part of this week's Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, female leaders sought to inspire other young women to play an active role in addressing sustainability goals in the UAE.
Through the Wiser Pioneers Programme, which was announced last year and is currently working on its first recruits, 20 women aged between 20 and 30 are offered advanced training and development aimed at empowering participants.
The Masdar-backed initiative provided networking opportunities with sustainability experts and idea workshops on how to reduce the gender gap and achieve key environmental goals.
“Girls and young women need female role models to see women as confident leaders, so they can envisage themselves leading others," said Dr Lamya Fawwaz, Wiser programme director
“More female leaders increases participation in all sectors.
“This is the key aim of Wiser, to bring female leaders into the limelight and connect them with our community of inspiring young women.”
In December, a decision to increase female representation in the Federal National Council was praised by a UN body of women’s empowerment.
The changes, due to come in to effect later this year, will see the UAE placed in the top five nations for female representation.
Government plans are also in action to place more women in to top judiciary jobs, diplomatic service and the labour market.
Sustainability is proving an untapped area for female expertise.
Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan Al Nahyan completed a master degree in sustainable leadership at Cambridge University in the UK.
“The delicate state of the world we live in will affect every single one of us, regardless of gender,” she said.
“Working together will advance the sustainability agenda, with gender parity a prerequisite.”
Sheikha Shamma said that although women receive less funding from financial institutions, they are more likely to repay their debt and spend their earnings on their family.
“There have been significant funding gaps of up to 90 per cent leaving women vulnerable and trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty,” she said.
“Let us make a world where gender does not matter, and all girls have a right to an education; where each individual does not have to choose between raising a family and working.
“Let us eradicate gender inequality.”