Putting UAE women on an equal foot­ing

New FNC will be re­flect­ing the true na­ture of our so­ci­ety, em­pow­er­ing women as never be­fore

Gulf News - - The Views -

The UAE is tak­ing a pro­gres­sive and nat­u­ral step for­ward with the an­nounce­ment yes­ter­day that Emi­rati women will oc­cupy half of the seats in the new Fed­eral Na­tional Coun­cil (FNC) after next year’s elec­tion. Pres­i­dent His High­ness Shaikh Khal­ifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s de­ci­sion will help the fu­ture en­deav­ours of the UAE and en­sure full em­pow­er­ment of Emi­rati women.

This is a very sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment, one that is cer­tainly un­prece­dented in Arab na­tions and, given that half of the seats in the new na­tional par­lia­men­tary body are to be re­served for women, goes fur­ther than mea­sures that have been en­acted in leg­isla­tive as­sem­blies the world over.

From the very ear­li­est days of this na­tion, when the found­ing fa­thers gath­ered in Union House and com­mit­ted to forg­ing a new home­land from the for­mer Tru­cial States that were un­der Bri­tish pro­tec­tion, they com­mit­ted this lead­er­ship, gov­ern­ment and na­tion to a course of equal­ity. By en­shrin­ing the prin­ci­ple of equal­ity in the makeup of the new FNC, the UAE lead­er­ship is clearly say­ing that all are equal in forg­ing the iden­tity of this na­tion, and that all have an equal role to play in en­sur­ing its fu­ture de­vel­op­ment. Gov­ern­ment poli­cies and march of progress are en­trusted to men and women as equals. That it­self is a fun­da­men­tal state­ment of em­pow­er­ment, show­ing that to­gether, men and women, Emi­ratis all, have an equal say in build­ing this na­tion and de­liv­er­ing its progress.

This act of em­pow­er­ment also comes at a time when across the Arab world, women are strug­gling to have their voices heard or to play a full and mean­ing­ful role in so­ci­ety and the work­place. Here in the UAE, though, the sky is the limit, as both sexes work in tan­dem, cre­at­ing part­ner­ships in a har­mo­nious so­ci­ety that ben­e­fits all. En­sur­ing that women rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the new FNC will have an equal voice will also mean that the laws and poli­cies adopted and en­acted by the gov­ern­ment will fairly re­flect the in­ter­ests and con­cerns of all mem­bers of so­ci­ety, tak­ing all points of view into ac­count, and shap­ing laws that will en­sure a har­mo­nious and gen­der-equal na­tion mov­ing for­ward. The new FNC elec­tions are to be held next year and cur­rently there are seven women mem­bers in the cham­ber of 40. A woman cur­rently oc­cu­pies the po­si­tion of Speaker of the FNC.

“Women are half our so­ci­ety: They should be rep­re­sented as such,” noted His High­ness Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Vice-Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

We couldn’t agree more.

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