DEWA organises Second Emirati Women’s Forum

Dubai, UAE, 29 August, 2016: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has organised the 2nd Emirati Women’s Forum. The forum was attended by HE Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, and a number of government and female leaders in the UAE. A large number of DEWA’s female staff and staff from government and private organisations also attended the forum.

DEWA organises Second Emirati Women’s Forum

DEWA organises Second Emirati Women’s Forum

DEWA organises Second Emirati Women’s Forum

DEWA organises Second Emirati Women’s Forum

In his speech at the forum, the Minister discussed women and the environment. Dr. Rafia Ghubash, Founder of the Women’s Museum, talked about Emirati Women in the past and present. HE Hessa Buhumaid, Assistant Director-General for Government Services in the Prime Minister's Office, talked about eomen and excellence. Maryam Al Shamsi, Senior Space Science Engineer, talked about Emirati Women in engineering. Khawla Al Mehairi, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications of DEWA and Chairperson of DEWA’s Women’s Committee, gave a speech about DEWA’s efforts in women’s empowerment.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the second Emirati Women’s Forum, organised by DEWA to celebrate Emirati Women's Day, as declared by HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood (Mother of the Nation). This year, the UAE celebrates Emirati Women’s Day under the theme ‘Women and Innovation,’ to mark the achievements of Emirati women, and their efforts to achieve development and prosperity in the UAE, through local, regional, and international innovation and creativity. This is supported by the wise leadership of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Their Highnesses the Members of the Supreme Council, Rulers of the Emirates, and Their Highnesses the Crown Princes,” said Al Tayer.

“Women empowerment in the UAE began with the establishment of the union, with unlimited support from the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who was a strong supporter of women. The late Sheikh Zayed recognised that half of society is comprised of women, and that a nation is not capable of functioning if the potential of half of society is ignored. His Highness approved legislation and laws, granting the nation’s women their institutional rights, including the right to work, and have access to education, health, and social welfare, providing them with roles in business management and finance, and granting equal rights and opportunities, alongside the country’s men. The country’s men and women can be imagined as the wings of a bird. The bird cannot fly without both wings. This reflects the strong belief that a community requires the active participation of all its members to grow with confidence and stability. The wise leadership follows in the footsteps of their fathers. HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan continues to fulfil the vision of his father, by supporting and empowering Emirati women, and launching ambitious initiatives to empower women. This places Emirati women at the forefront internationally, in their contribution in leadership positions.

“Today, we are witnessing the fruit borne by the hard work of the wise leadership. UAE women now constitute 66% of the public sector’s workforce, 30% of which are in senior posts. Emirati women have become major contributors to sustainable development, and occupy the highest positions in the sovereign, executive, and legislative authorities, as well as their social local and international activities. We have immense pride in the UAE’s international position for treating women with respect, and reducing gender imbalance in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Al Tayer.

“The UAE takes pride in the empowerment of women. For example, The UAE has announced its determination to host a coordinating office for the United Nations (UN) Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) with the support of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak. Another example is that Dr Amal Al Qubaisi has made history by becoming the first woman in the Arab world to be elected as speaker of a national council. Women account for 27.5% of the Cabinet. Eight new ministers, five of them women, have joined the Federal Government and the cabinet for the first time. The Cabinet of the Future consists of 8 female ministers> this is one of the highest percentages of women minister’s representing an executive authority in the world. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum appointed Sarah Amiri, the Emirates Mars Mission Science Team Leader, as the Chairperson of the UAE Council of Scientists. Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak launched the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Emirati Women in the UAE from 2015-2021, to develop the framework to empower women, in addition to other strategies,” added Al Tayer.

“Our experience in the empowerment of women is a source of pride to everyone. Now more than ever, we can witness women playing major roles in space research, and in development sectors focused on innovation and creativity, renewable and clean energy, peacefully-used nuclear energy, the manufacture and launch of satellites. We also are seeing women play major roles in the aviation industry, technology, and many others. DEWA is committed to empowering female professionals across a number of different fields, to positively contribute towards community, society, and sustainable development, by enhancing their roles. Our strategy aims to activate and support the roles played by all women, while enhancing their abilities and contribution to the community. Our participation as the main partner in the Global Women’s Forum Dubai, organised by Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) and the Women’s Forum for Economy & Society, reflects our commitment to enhancing the contribution of women to energy, as a major element of sustainable development,” continued Al Tayer.

Al Tayer noted that DEWA employs 1,785 female staff in its operations, 601 work in engineering and other technical positions. 78% of DEWA’s female workforce comprise Emirati Nationals who enjoy a secure, stable environment, which allows them to grow their skills and abilities to contribute to the National Innovation Strategy. The strategy is set to place the UAE amongst some of the most innovative countries in the world. DEWA encourages its female employees to actively participate in enhancing excellence and innovation, as adopted by DEWA as part of daily practice, in addition to enhancing corporate culture, and developing an environment that encourages positive competitiveness, to achieve the Dubai Plan 2021 for Dubai to be a city of happy, creative, and empowered people.

“I assure you that our ongoing achievements shall not cease, we will continue to place our women at the forefront of the international community, becoming role models, and reflect the honourable image of Emirati women, in support of the wise vision that recognises the significance of renewable energy in achieving a balance between development and sustainability.

This balance will help preserve the rights of future generations to live in a clean, healthy, and safe environment. The remarkable achievements made by the UAE’s women in different fields, are not due to luck. These achievements are the result of hard work, a clear approach, and our ongoing efforts. We are proud of Emirati women, and have great hope in their contribution to achieving our ambitious development goals. We are fully committed to supporting Emirati women, at the highest levels of excellence, and work to provide as much support as possible, to enable them to fulfil their roles as mothers to a new generation. I would like to conclude with the words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who once observed that, “Our job is to provide an environment that unlocks women's potential – one that protects their dignity and femininity, helps them create the necessary balance in their lives, and values their talents and potential. Given this environment, I am confident that women will perform nothing short of miracles,” concluded Al Tayer.

In his speech at the forum, Al Zeyoudi congratulated Emirati women on the occasion of Emirati Women’s Day, and thanked DEWA for the chance to speak about the role of women in protecting the environment.

“In the UAE, we are proud that women and men share the important role of enhancing development thanks to the values instilled by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and consolidated by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. I would like to emphasise that protecting the environment and achieving the sustainable development goals is both an individual as well as a collective responsibility. Individuals’ responsibilities are important. Individuals who are aware of their roles and responsibilities, regardless of their gender, are more capable in contributing to protecting the environment. However, the role of women equals that of men in many environmental issues. This includes sustainable use of natural resources. This is an important topic today both locally and globally as it affects the economic, social, and environmental issues. Women in any position, are directly responsible for instilling the concept of sustainability in society. They directly and effectively participate in the awareness and educational programmes organised by the relevant bodies in the UAE,” he said.

“This does not mean that the role of women in the environment is limited to certain topics but rather it extends to all environmental topics. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is one of many good examples in the UAE. Women constitute over half of the Ministry’s employees. They work in all the senior, supervisory, and specialised positions in all organisational units and work sites. They have proven efficient, enthusiastic, and able to be creative, innovate and excel at work,” added Al Zeyoudi.

"Meeting the environmental pressures and challenges in the coming period, requires us to mobilise all our energies. As I have mentioned, we are counting a lot on the role of all members of society to address those pressures and challenges. We are confident that Emirati women will continue to work side by side with men to develop the UAE and achieve the National goals to ensure a bright and sustainable future for future generations, and make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by 2021. As His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai once tweeted, "We do not empower women. We empower society through women," concluded Al Zeyoudi

“Emirati women are a main component in the overall development equation in the UAE. They have achieved excellence and leadership in all areas of work. Emirati women are mothers, sisters, daughters, ministers, ambassadors, doctors, innovators, managers, and students. They are making their country proud in every possible way. Emirati women had the full support of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The wise leadership are following the same steps. They believe in the effectiveness and importance of the role of women. They are key in achieving society’s stability and development. Emirati women have offered a lot in raising the UAE’s sons and daughters who are the country’s most precious wealth,” said Buhumaid.

Ghubash highlighted the important role of Emiratit grandmothers and mothers in developing the UAE, despite the hardships they faced in the past. She discussed the great efforts of the late Sheikha Salama bint Butti, mother of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the UAE, and the efforts of the late Sheikha Hessa bint Al Murr, mother of the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. She noted one of the reasons for the success of the UAE is based on the love and trust between the people and their leaders.

In her speech, Al Mehairi welcomed the guests of the forum, which was organised by DEWA’s Women’s Committee to mark Emirati Women’s Day.

“For over four decades, the ‘Mother of the Nation,’ HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, has played a major role in empowering Emirati women. Dedicating this day each year is a significant milestone in the journey of Emirati women, and declaring 2016 as the ‘Year of Women and Innovation,’ is another important step for women’s empowerment, which was started by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,” said Al Mehairi.

“Thanks to the vision of our wise leadership led by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the UAE, since the time of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, our leaders have created laws and regulations that guarantee women’s constitutional rights. These rights can be seen in work, education, health care, social security, ownership, managing businesses and finances, and equality with men. These measures have empowered women to prove themselves and work shoulder to shoulder with men in building the nation. This vision has contributed to Emirati women having real participation in empowering society through their effective and immense contributions in all areas. In this regard, I would like to quote HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who once observed, ‘I have a great confidence in Emirati women and deep faith in their capacities. Their achievements speak for themselves and dissipate any possible doubt in this regard,’” continued al Mehairi.

“Establishing the UAE Gender Balance Council under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women’s Establishment, and wife of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, is another milestone in women’s empowerment. It crowns the UAE’s ongoing efforts since the establishment of the Union. This reflects the major role Emirati women play in shaping the future,” said Al Mehairi, who thanked the wise leadership, HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, HH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, for his unlimited support to DEWA’s Women’s Committee, which has helped achieve so much to the empowerment of women.

DEWA today is one of the leading government departments and organisations to empower women both professionally and socially. DEWA is the largest government organisation to employ women in technical positions within the energy sector in Dubai. With support from DEWA’s top management, DEWA’s Women Committee was established in 2010, and adopts a comprehensive approach that explores the different aspects that matter to women. It translates these into plans and programmes that develop women’s personal and life skills, while providing a positive and motivating work environment, enabling them to balance their professional and family lives. This has a positive effect, not only on DEWA, but will also contribute to the empowerment of the community. One of our biggest priorities is to create a working environment capable of enabling the empowerment of society through women.

There are 266 female employees in managerial positions in DEWA. Female staff were given over 25,000 training opportunities in the past three years in addition to 125 scholarships. Until this year, 163 female fresh graduates trained in DEWA. Out of this number, 100 are graduates in engineering and other specialised areas. DEWA has supported 45 female employees through its annual mass wedding, and 35 female staff for Hajj. In 2015 and 2016, 60 Emirati female students and staff took part in the Carbon Ambassadors Programme, which DEWA organises in cooperation with UNDP. Over 7,500 volunteering hours were contributed by DEWA’s female staff out of 12,000 volunteering hours. This is over 50% of the total volunteering hours. 50 out of 67 of our community programmes are managed by female employees. 60% of the employees who lead the environmental awareness and conservation programmes and community outreach programmes are women. DEWA is one of the first government organisations to establish child care centres to support working mothers. Today, DEWA has the largest number of nurseries in comparison with other government organisations in Dubai.

DEWA’s nurseries can accommodate up to 175 children. To enhance the participation of Emirati women in sports and support the Emirate’s efforts to promote women sport, DEWA has organised many sports events for its female staff in cooperation with Dubai Government organisations. DEWA has established various women’s sports teams that have achieved remarkable results despite them participating for the first time. These efforts contributed to achieving 81% satisfaction among female employees, compared to 79% among their male counterparts.

At the forum, Al Tayer honoured the partners of DEWA Women’s Committee, Dubai Women Establishment, Dubai Women’s Association, and the Media Office of the Government of Dubai. He also honoured DEWA’s sports team, and the outgoing and new members of the Women’s.

The forum featured a video about the achievements of the Women’s Committee and DEWA’s efforts in women empowerment. DEWA’s female staff expressed their appreciation of the Women’s Committee and the support extended by Al Tayer. They also thanked the Women’s Committee’s for organising the Emirati Women’s forum for the second year in a row.