Illiteracy is the first and foremost enemy of women particularly and society at large. I dream of the day when the rate of illiteracy in the UAE and the Arab world is brought down to “zero”. Education is the window through which women observe and learn from the cultural heritage of different nations. It serves as a means for us to keep up with the international advancements and pursue our social development efforts.
Fatima Bint Mubarak
Sheikha Fatima believes that education is an overarching priority for development and advancement of women. She has therefore always encouraged women to seek knowledge and education and followed up closely with female schools.
Eradication of Illiteracy:
- The Women Literacy and Education Strategy was launched in the UAE in 1975.
- A comprehensive system was developed and approved for the eradication of alphabetical, cultural, intellectual, health, social, professional and family illiteracy.
- Effective contribution in decreasing the illiteracy rate in the UAE from 27% in 1985 to 10% in 2010 and less than 1% in 2013, thanks to the efforts deployed by the wise leadership for the sake of spreading education (Arab Knowledge Report – Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation).
- General Women’s Union, presided by Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, joined the Arab Network for Literacy in 2000.
- Collaboration between General Women’s Union and Ministry of Education to offer the external student system (Intisab), taking into account family needs and conditions.
- Organization of training courses in computer, secretarial tasks and other professions to assist in integrating women in labor markets.
- Direct early awareness and guidance campaigns at illiteracy eradication centers to emphasize the need to pursue education.
- Launch of Women and Technology Project, which aims at eradicating women’s electronic illiteracy. In 2006 and in collaboration with Microsoft and the International Education Institute , the General Women’s Union has opened the Information Technology Center.
- Launch of “Work planning for sustainability” and “Limitless Ambitions” workshops to train the female trainers involved in the Women and Technology Project.
- Recommending investment in human resources and nurturing a new generation of scholars and intellectuals for the future prosperity of the country.
- Granting a reward of AED 50,000 to each school nominated in the category of secondary schools in the Zayed Future Energy Award 2014.
- Increasing the female enrollment rate across all education stages; primary school, middle school and high school.. Females account for 53% compared to 47% for males, according to the number of students registered in pre-college education system.
- Establishing Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Girls to emphasize the importance of women’s formal education.
- Honoring and supporting all female outstanding students across all educational stages.
- Supporting and sponsoring all clubs, social and cultural centers, fine arts and crafts exhibitions, as well as all artistic and scientific activities of female students in formal schools, family development foundation and nurseries.
- Supporting extra-curricular activities to enrich physical skills and abilities as well as strengthening the sense of belonging.
- Strengthening the role of social organizations, charity centers, sporting clubs and cultural clubs during summers to spend free time learning and enhancing different skills and sports.
- Sponsoring “The Arts Club” initiative launched by The Institute of Applied Technology, which is aimed at discovering and nurturing artistic talents among the national technology high school female students.
- Launching Fatima Bint Mubarak Annual Award for Education Excellence in 2003
- Launching and sponsoring the national competition for UAE skills in 2008, which is organized by the Abu Dhabi Center for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, with the participation of Emirati Students from different universities and public and private schools in UAE. The award has been recently organized in 2014.
- Supporting the modernization of curricula to better serve women advancement in the fields of police, aviation, nursing and military studies.
- Presidency of the Higher Authority for Female Teachers. H.H. recommended the development of work mechanisms to remedy the issues of the teaching profession in appreciation of the role performed by teachers and in an attempt to support them morally and financially.
- H. recommended adjusting the career status of Emirati women working in the teaching field to equal their peers in other fields of practice.
- Holding periodic meetings with teachers, school principals and social advisors to support them morally and strengthen their role in the development of the educational process in the country.
- Supporting the effective participation of parents in the education process and encouraging them to attend periodical parents meetings to monitor the performance of their children.
- Directing the efforts combating truancy and invite officials to undertake the necessary measures to deal with such situations through teachers who are specialized in this field.
- Instructing the increasing of budget allocations for children in the annual government budget.
- Inviting officials to develop food services at schools and warning against the risk of mal-nourishment at schools and the impact on students’ health.
- Patron the graduation affiliated national service, the first Armed Forces ceremony at the headquarters of Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School in Abu Dhabi, December 2014.
- Patronage of the sixth session of the National Skills Competition organized by the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training. April 2014.
Graduate Education and Higher Institutions
- Supporting the higher education institutions financially and morally. Sponsoring graduation parties at the UAE University, Higher College of Technology, Zayed University, Khawla Bint Al Azwar Military School and offering cash rewards to high female achievers since 1981.
- Females account for roughly 72% of students at national universities and 50% of students at private universities and institutions. Post-graduate female students represent 62% at national universities and 43% at private universities and institutions.
- According to the National Statistics Center, over the past two decades the percentage of female students enrolled in universities reached 144% compared to male counterparts.
- Sponsoring and honoring the distinguished graduates in the UAE University, Zayed University, Higher Colleges of Technology since 1981.
- Providing scholarships by supporting the donor trust fund at universities to encourage high achievers and empower them to explore their potentials in coping with the modern technologies until they reach the sustainable development phase.
- Sending out students of both genders to study at her highness’ own expense and offering golden scholarships to the female graduates who attain excellent degree in various fields.
- Supporting leading research and application projects which satisfy the needs of various development institutions in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the UAE at large.
- Establishing Sheikha Fatima Health Sciences College and supporting the scientific research and fellowship program in training on organs transplant operations 2006.
- Sponsoring the “Women’s Leadership Roles” conference organized on annual basis by Zayed University, which is considered as the first of its kind in the region, to enhance the leading role of women and their engagement in the building and development process since 2005.
- Establish of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak library in the Women’s Union as a reference specialist in women’s and children’s issues to serve academics, researchers and professionals equipped with the latest electronic systems in the field of library management system in 2013.
Women Education Efforts Regionally and Internationally
- The inauguration of the first women training and rehabilitation center in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa District in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 2013.
- H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak sponsors and bears the cost of post graduate studies for hundreds of Arab students in various fields in the context of her approach calling for the development of women at region-scale.
- Launching and sponsoring H.H. Sheikha Fatima International Award of Arab Youth in 2005 which contributes to the support of youth issues throughout the world and asserting their role in the comprehensive and sustainable development.
- The restoration, construction and building of 1400 schools destroyed by the earthquake of 1993 in the Arab Republic of Egypt (USD1,400,000).
- Establishing Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Secondary School at Al Mazraa Ash-sharqiyah Village at Ramallah and Al Bireh Governorate.
- Providing financial support to Al Hooda Centre School in Islamabad in the Republic of Pakistan for the expansion of the school facilities and classrooms to accommodate greater number of female Islamic and Arabic language studies in 1995 (Half million Dirhams).
- Establishing and sponsoring Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak’s Female Students House in Sri Lanka to encourage them to pursue their education with special attention on their participation in cultural and educational activities in 2009.
- Offering annual scholarships to outstanding students at GEMS Schools in the Middle East, India and North Africa.
- Providing financial support and following-up on the provision of school supplies to the children in Bosnia.
- Provide a grant to Ibarso School for Science and Technology in Somalia, which was a candidate in the secondary school category of the Zayed Future Energy Prize for the implementation of the first phase of the project in securing sustainable energy and water sources. November 2014.
Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak (Mother of U.A.E.)’s efforts and proactive role has been clearly depicted in the enhancement of UAE women’s standing internationally and in assisting Emirati women in achieving unprecedented milestones since the establishment of the United Arab Emirates in 1971.
As Sheikha Fatima strongly believes that women are able to contribute to all fields of development and based on all successes achieved in various fields, she has introduced future initiatives and plans to support women in economic field and to provide them with all supporting services to enable them to match between their work and family obligations. In this respect, Sheikha Fatima:
- Supported UAE women in all fields and preserved their dignity and standing, thus helping the country to rank number one in the women respect index globally.
- Offered job opportunities for all women without any discrimination. She also provided opportunities to women in all economic fields with women’s contribution to the labor market accounting for 43%. The women participation in the government sector accounted for 66% and 34% in leadership positions.
- Supported UAE women in participating in, and contributing to, volunteer activities and public jobs.
- Supported national job fairs and offered job opportunities to all UAE women so as to enhance their engagement in the sustainable development process.
- Sponsored the national survey of the characteristics of the UAE Family in 1998.
- Established the UAE Businesswomen Council to promote women’s role in the field of private business and economic development in 2001.
- Contributed in supporting women participation in the acquisition and management of private sector companies, with Over 11,000 investment projects being managed by business women, valued at more than USD 10 Billion.
- Encouraged women engagement in private and banking sectors.
- Allocated 50 Million incorporation shares for UAE women in Al Qudra Holding Company to support women participation in the national economy and enhance their contribution to the establishment of gigantic economic companies.
- Establishment of handicrafts and environmental Centre 1978.
- Launching the productive family project in 1997 through the Women Union as a leading program for the support of traditional products and heritage handicrafts as a household activity for UAE women.
- In 2005, Sheikha Fatima instructed to develop and update the initiatives pertaining to the productive families’ project as a result of which the Mubdeaa initiative was launched in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Business Women Council.
- In 2012 and out of Sheikha Fatima’s faith and keenness to achieve Emirates Vision 2021 for the creation of a confident community, sustainable and open economy capable to be internationally competitive along with the women contribution to the state progress and prosperity, she launched Al Dar Leaders Program and directed the Family Development Foundation to implement and follow-up on the program.
- She sponsored economic congregations for Arab Business Women hosted by the UAE to activate women participation in the economic field and paved the way for trading activities between the Arab countries represented by Business Women.
- Enabling women to represent 15% of the faculty at Universities and Higher Institutes and 60% of the technical jobs held by UAE citizens as well as enhancing women engagement in the scientific field, medicine, nursing and environment and public health sciences.
- Supported UAE women’s engagement in the Police and Armed Forces.
- Supported women to be involved in the food and agricultural sector in the United Arab Emirates.
- Encouraged women to join mass media and launched a media strategy for Arab women during the Second Conference of Arab Women Organization in Abu Dhabi 2008.
- The launch of the first strategic plan for the years 2015 – 2019 of the Council of Abu Dhabi Business Women.
- Supporting the involvement of UAE women i in the three executive, legislative and judicial sovereignty authorities as well as all decision-making positions.
- Enhancing and supporting the Emirati women’s participation in the political life and in holding high positions such as the ministerial portfolios, membership of the Federal National Council and engagement in the diplomatic corps, judiciary, public prosecutions, boards of directors of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
- At present, women hold around 30% of the senior leading jobs related to the decision-making process, 10% of the jobs at the diplomatic corps, 7 seats at the Federal National Council which represents 17.5% of the total numbers of seats in addition to the position of the Senior Deputy Chairperson of the Federal National Council. The UAE Women at present also occupy 4 ministerial positions as well as the position of the Secretary General of the Cabinet.
- UAE women are also involved in the Military and Police service and promoted to Brigadier Rank.
- One UAE woman currently serves as the Chairperson of the Arab Women Organization.
- Enabling women to represent 15% of the faculty at Universities and Higher Institutes and 60% of the technical jobs occupied by UAE citizens as well as the enhancement of her engagement in the scientific, medical, nursing and environment fields and public health, sciences and agricultural sectors.
- Supporting the enactment of legislations that provide for the constitutional rights of women such as the right for work, social security, ownership, business administration, funds and enjoyment of all educational services at all levels along with the healthcare and social care in addition to equality in all fields of life with men, with emphasis on equal pay. This in addition to fighting violence against women.
- Launching the National Initiative program for the integration of social gender in the United Arab Emirates, in coordination with the UN Development Program (UNDP) 2006.
- Supporting and following-up on the promulgation of the UAE personal status code for the support of women rights and contribution to the family stability 2005.
- Launching the National Strategy for the Advancement of Women in the United Arab Emirates, in cooperation with the UN Women Development Fund (UNWDF) 2002.
- She also took part in the enactment of the law promulgated by H.H. Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan establishing that any residential plot, house and farm granted by the state should be registered in the name of the husband and wife.
- Launch the national strategy for the empowerment and leadership of women in the UAE from 2015- 2021, in order to provide a decent life for women to make them empowered, leaders, take initiative and engaged in all areas of sustainable development process.
- Declare “UAE Women’s Day” to celebrate the enrolled in the armed forces and national service; and to honor the Emirati women for their role in building the homeland and its achievements in 2015.
- launch of the National Strategy for Motherhood and Childhood 2017-2021, as well as on the establishment of a plan to promote the rights of “children of determination”.
- Declare the annual UAE Children’s Day on 15th March of every year.
- launched the “Sheikha Fatima Award for Motherhood and Childhood”, which aims is to highlight the UAE’s attention to issues relating to motherhood and childhood on an international level, to encourage individuals and local government and private authorities to pursue and conduct specialized scientific research in this area and provide the required care services, with the aim of creating mechanisms and taking measures to bridge the role of the mother in the family and her role in public life, as well as improving the quality of services provided to mothers and children, November 2017.
- launched the “UAE Inculcation” initiative, which is a modern educational project supervised by the Ministry of Education and supported and sponsored by the “Mother of the UAE”, that aims to promote progress and provide a productive and sustainable school environment and maintain a smart environment. The project is also part of the Year of Giving initiative, and it embodies the modern concept of moral education, with the aim of forming bonds of friendship between students, December 2017.