Today, August 28, marks the 4th annual Emirati Women's Day. In 2015, this special day was inaugurated by Her Highness Sheika Fatima bint Mubarak who sought to recognize the contributions - both current and in the past - that women have made for the nation.
As an integral part of a country's human resource capital, the role of women is intrinsic to every nation's progress and stability. In the UAE, the role of Emirati women in shaping and accelerating the pace of progress has been exemplary.
The late Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the UAE, once famously said: "The woman is half of the society, any country which pursues development should not leave her in poverty or illiteracy. I am on the woman's side."
Undeniably, the UAE leads the region when it comes to female empowerment, these 15 facts will prove it:
1. Women hold 66% of government jobs in the UAE, 30% of which are senior decision-making positions.
2. In 2018, Her Excellency Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi was elected as the President of the Federal National Council (FNC), making her the first-ever woman to chair a parliamentary institution at the regional level.
3. Illiteracy amongst Emirati women has dropped from 89.8 percent in 1970 to only 7.3 percent in 2017. The UAE ranks among the highest in the region on literacy rate.
4. 95 percent of UAE female high-school graduates pursue further education at tertiary-level, compared with 80 percent of men.
5. The UAE even has an official national strategy for empowerment of Emirati women, it's chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.
6. Among the 40 ministers of the new government, 9 are women constituting almost 23 percent of the total ministers.
7. The participation of women in the UAE Cabinet is amongst the highest in the world, reflecting the strong position reached by Emirati women.
8. There are more than 20,000 female entrepreneurs in the UAE, meaning women make up at least 10 percent of all Emirati entrepreneurs. That's a 58 percent growth since 2012.
9. In 2016, the UAE inaugurated a new UN Women Liaison Office to help strengthen UN Women's partnership with the GCC countries and accelerate efforts for gender equality.
10. In 2012, the UAE passed a new law calling for mandatory female representation on all boards of government corporations and bodies. It was the first country in the Arab world to implement such a progressive law.
11. The UAE has signed plenty of legislation that aims to support equal rights of women. This includes the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Hours of Work Convention, and the Equal Remuneration Convention.
12. By law, the UAE protects women's social and financial welfare. Married women are entitled to have marriage dowry and regular maintenance expenses paid by their husband. Expenses include living, food, medical, and household costs.
13. The UAE has opened the region's first military college for women called 'Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School'.
14. Currently, the UAE has 4 female judges, 2 female public prosecutors, and 17 female assistant public prosecutors and marriage officials.
15. Women make up 20 percent of the UAE's diplomatic corps.