Fujairah: A trailblazer for women’s empowerment


FUJAIRAH: The picture says it all.

At the awarding ceremony of Al Bader Festival in Fujairah, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi honored the committee that oversaw the event and made sure it was impeccable.

The number of women who went on stage for the honor was more than double of the men.

The scene was a testimony to how the outstanding and laudable progress women have achieved in Fujairah across all sectors, and how they have become role models in human development.

The whole six-day international festival was a fine example of how well women in Fujairah have honed their organizational and communication skills.

Women’s contributions to strengthening the cultural fabric of Fujairah and the nation have empowered them to play a vital role as partners with men in the prosperity of the country.

Throughout the festival, the team of young women, led by Hessa Al Felassi, were invariably ready to answer queries, provide details, and assist. And always with a smile and a great deal of patience and understanding.

Their positive attitudes showed that they are well trained to go beyond seemingly insurmountable obstacles and make the impossible possible.

Hessa is a firm believer in the capacity, competence and ambition of UAE women to move forward and making their ambitions a reality.

“There is no ceiling and there are definitely no limits. UAE women will continue to build and develop this nation in all fields, alongside men, preserving their values, customs, traditions, and national identity,” she said.

“They will at the same time committed to their status as the mother, wife, daughter and sister on which the foundation, stability and cohesion of the Emirati family is based, and this is what our wise leadership relies on to ensure the stability of the nation and to consolidate its national identity.”

A few miles away from Al Bader Festival premises, a roundtable at a publishing house discussed the challenges that women face as writers, poets and content makers.

The debate featured three speakers, Shaikha Al Mesmari, Suad Al Tarban, Mozah Al Zeyoudi, and one moderator, Selma Al Hafiti. All women.

More than two thirds of the audience listening attentively to them were women. And those who were engaged in the general debate and asked questions were women.

There were some flowery expressions at times, but there were also thorny issues that generated a barrage of criticism and direct remarks.

The debate that lasted around 90 minutes was high caliber and the criticism was accepted often with smiles, denoting a high level of maturity and acceptance.

Emirati women at a cultural forum

Emirati women at a cultural forum 

There were plenty of arguments defending writers and poets, blasting the media for not devoting enough attention to newcomers on the literary scenes, calling for specific regulations to ensure the mediocre do not spoil genuine poetry, highlighting the need to use social media as a voice for literary talents, discussing the pros and cons of self-promotion …

The moderator and the speakers brought into the discussion an obvious enthusiasm for life. “Do what you love and love what you do”.

The situation might seem eerie for those not familiar with the vast progress achieved by UAE women.

They are constantly encouraged by the state open and dedicated policies that create and promote opportunities for them to live up to their national mission as effective and successful members of their community.

The policies are empowering them to drive innovation and excellence and contribute significantly and decisively to the nation’s progress and global recognition. Creating a better tomorrow.

And the women are responding positively.

Adding to the series of initiatives in the public sector where women hold two thirds of jobs, with 30% in leadership roles and 15% in technical and academic roles, the private sector is also an area where women are playing an increasingly stronger role in all matters – culture, business, investments, education, arts, community services ….

Today, the UAE has the highest number of women on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen in 2023 with 15 Emirati women on the list.

The high literacy rate of women – close to 96% – is a great enabler, and today 41% of UAE government university graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are women.


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