✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters

International Women’s Day 2020: The Need to Forge On!

On 8th March of every year, we celebrate and recognize women’s accomplishments and the full attainment of women’s human rights as a yardstick for societal…

On 8th March of every year, we celebrate and recognize women’s accomplishments and the full attainment of women’s human rights as a yardstick for societal development. This day has also become an avenue to reflect on the journey leading to this point while evaluating the gaps that still exist for women and girls around the world.

The theme for this year’s celebration, ‘Each for Equal’, underscores the need to reinforce and galvanize collective action and responsibility towards the achievement of gender parity. Indeed, times have changed along with the demands of the society, hence the pertinence to canvass a united front to fill gender gaps and push for unconditional inclusion for women. Since the formal recognition of the International Day for Women in 1975, the world has witnessed ground breaking achievements across sectors of human endeavors stemming from strengthening the roles women play in global growth.

The United Arab Emirates adopted a powerful stance in empowering women, setting new standards based on a unique model drawn from the vision of His Highness the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE. This approach draws from the natural role of the daughters of the UAE in the current leadership’s vision for the future, whereby women stand as active partners in the country’s development process and play a vital role in shaping future generations.

For instance, in 1975 the rate of adult literacy in the UAE was 54 percent among men and 31 percent among women. Today, literacy rates for both genders are close to 95 percent. Now, nearly two-thirds of university graduates are women, including 77 percent of computer science students and 44 percent of engineering students.

In the region the UAE became the first country to mandate the presence of women in boardrooms, this has earned us a 64% of the overall gender gap considerably according to the World Economic Forum’s global Gender Gap index in 2018. Currently, women occupy 66 percent of public sector jobs; one of the highest proportions worldwide, including 30 percent of senior leadership positions associated with decision-making roles.

The UAE owes its tremendous development records to the lofty contributions of women in both the public and private sectors of national life, across the military, science and technology, and business sectors.

Globally, we need to change the narrative to include the total and unnegotiable access to all life opportunities across genders. The principles of the universal human rights guarantee equal rights for women and men alike, and every government, corporate entity, individual advocate must champion regional and global causes that entrench equal opportunities in education and literacy, employment, and basic amenities, fundamental human respect for women among several social and economic indicators.

Legislative strongholds are as important to challenge all discriminatory actions based on gender in every corner of the world, as we have witnessed in the UAE through the decision of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan that mandates Emirati women occupy 50 percent of the country’s Federal National Council. This decision aimed to further empower Emirati women in the legislative and parliamentary field and bolster their contributions to development, an accomplishment achieved nationwide in record time compared to other countries around the world.

Emirati women now hold ministerial portfolios, in addition to membership in the Federal National Council, and represent their country as ambassadors in countries around the world, in addition to their notable role in the UAE judiciary.

There needs to be more women role models in diverse roles to actively challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broadens perspectives to build a more enabled and equal world. The active support and encouragement of UAE mothers like Her Highness Sheikh Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood is one of such undeniable influences women role models have on young girls to aspire to break barriers in all walks of life.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is the giant of Africa and as such shares a large part of the great women to have emerged from the continent, these women icons continue to set high standards everyday across government, semi government and private sectors. The UAE will continue to partner and spearhead development initiatives that empower women across age spectrums as part of bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

The UAE is a leading example of the power and great impact of gender inclusivity in a society as well as the need to galvanize collective action in the pursuance of a developed society where everyone is equal regardless of gender identification.

The leadership, government and Emirati people across the seven Emirates support the participation of Emirati women in decision-making as a core component of their economic empowerment. In 2012, the UAE Cabinet adopted a decision requiring the appointment of women on the boards of directors of all institutions and government agencies, setting the proportion of female representation at 15 percent in government institutions. Women now make up 15 percent of the workforce in the public sector and 50 percent of the members of the Federal National Council are women.

As we begin our journey into a new decade, all hands must be on deck to ensure that individuals, governments, opinion leaders and corporate entities understand and make efforts towards ensuring that gender equality is not an issue for women alone; it is an issue for us all, we need to keep talking about women’s issues, highlight the challenges and inequalities that exist for women and act to overcome these challenges immediately.

Let us reflect on the kind of society and world we want to live in, with continuous advocacy and decisive actions, so that generations yet to come can boast of equal life opportunities for all.


Dr. Fahad Obaid Al Taffaq is the UAE Ambassador to The Federal Republic of Nigeria

Are you currently earning in Naira but need salary/earnings in Dollars? You have an opportunity to earn as much as $10,000 (₦9.2 million naira) monthly. Click here to get evidence.

%d bloggers like this: