‘Gender can’t hold you back’
Official says women have opportunities
Emirati and Arab women must not use their gender as an excuse for failing to pursue a career and other goals in life, a UAE official has said.
Dr Aisha bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai Office, made the comments to the audience at the 18th Global WIL Economic Forum in Dubai yesterday.
The event, which continues today at the RitzCalton DIFC, is bringing together some 500 business men and women to discuss how economic empowerment of women can be improved.
Bishr said the only barrier stopping Emirati women from going after their dreams is “themselves”.
The conference also heard that today 70 per cent of graduates in the UAE are women.
Bishr said: “In my life, I have refused to let others define or plan my path for me.
“I always say that no one will come to groom me. You have to show up and groom yourself. This is my message to women in our region.
“With faith in yourself, trust in your dreams and commitment to purpose, you would be able to accomplish all that you set yourself to achieve. So many women make excuses for themselves because of their gender – this is especially true in our country. And this doesn’t need to be.”
She said today there is equality of opportunity for all Emirati women. She also said 66 per cent of government employees are women.
Bishr continued: “I fully believe that the only barrier to Emirati women pursuing their purpose is themselves.
“And this is right not only for Emiratis, but also for women in our region.
“Emirati and Arab women need to stand up and stand up high. I am fully confident for women to achieve great things.”
That message resonated with one Emirati, 23-year-old student Khawla, who volunteers at a social club for older Emiratis. She said: “I think it still exists in the older generation. My mother was not allowed to go to school because she had to get married.”
At the social club, she was “surprised because there wasn’t anyone there who got to go to school”. She added: “But now you can see many women with jobs.”