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Emirati Women’s Day: A celebration of gender balance 

Official Emirati Women's Day logo|Aurora50's fact file on UAE gender balance and equality stats for Emirati Women's Day|Quote from Aurora50 co-founder Diana Wilde for Emirati Women's Day:
Suzanne Locke 15 August 2023
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Emirati Women’s Day is held on 28 August every year. It is a chance to celebrate women and to recognise the many achievements made by the UAE’s women.
The UAE has made gender balance an integral part of the nation’s social culture, and has worked hard for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Emirati Women’s Day 2023

“Emirati Women’s Day isn’t about pink balloons and discounts for women. It’s a day to celebrate the progress being made towards gender balance. It’s an opportunity to pause and look at what has been achieved so far, to discuss the challenges still to be overcome and to celebrate the impact Emirati women are making.” Aurora50 co-founder Diana Wilde
The theme for Emirati Women’s Day in 2023 is We Collaborate for Tomorrow. It ties in with the UAE Year of Sustainability, the year the UAE hosts COP 28. Link to UN’s SDGs & UAE
‘We Collaborate for Tomorrow’ reflects the UAE’s commitment to finding inventive solutions to sustainability challenges.
In her statement, HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak said: “The UAE has made gender balance an integral part of the nation’s social culture.
“This highlights the significance of collaboration between federal and local authorities, civil society and the private sector to enhance the achievements in this area.
“With COP28 set to take place in November 2023, the UAE is gearing up to tackle the pressing issues related to climate change.”

Emirati Women’s Day – the history

Emirati Women’s Day was founded in 2015 by HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation.
The General Women’s Union of the UAE – which she chairs – was also founded on this day, in 1975.

Emirati Women’s Year themes throughout the years

Year Theme/ slogan
2023 We Collaborate for Tomorrow
2022 Inspiring Reality… Sustainable Future
2021 Women: Ambitions & Inspiration for Next 50 Years (in the UAE’s Golden Jubilee year)
2020 Preparing For the Next 50 years: Women are the Support of the Nation
2019 Women, Icons of Tolerance
2018 Women on the Course of Zayed (in ‘The Year of Zayed’)
2017 Women are Partners in Giving
2016 Women and Innovation
2015 Inaugural year – no theme
“Emirati women’s day isn’t about pink balloons and discounts for women. It’s a day to celebrate the progress being made towards gender balance. It’s an opportunity to pause and look at what has been achieved so far, to discuss the challenges still to be overcome and to celebrate the impact Emirati women are making.”

UAE gender balance facts & stats

  1. Equality between men and women was written into the UAE constitution in 2016.
  2. Equal pay for equal work was mandated in 2021 in the first overhaul of the labour law in 40 years.
  3. Women make up half of the UAE’s 40 Federal National Council members, following a 2018 directive.
  4. Women hold 27 percent of ministerial positions. HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasmi became the first woman to hold a cabinet position in 2004.
  5. A quota of at least one woman per board was mandated for listed UAE companies in 2021 by the Emirates Security and Commodities Authority, which overseas the Abu Dhabu Securities Exchange (ADX) and Dubai Financial market (DFM).
  6. Women hold two-thirds of public sector jobs in the UAE, 30 percent of leadership roles and 15 per cent of technical and academic roles.
  7. Women make up 30 percent of the UAE diplomatic corps.
  8. Emirati women make up 64 percent of all university graduates in the UAE. Women represent 61 percent of students studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) in the UAE, compared to 35 percent globally.
  9. There were over 25,000 Emirati women entrepreneurs in the UAE in 2021, compared with 11,000 in 2010.
  10. The UAE has one of the region’s highest rates of women participating in the workforce, according to the World Bank, at 45.7 percent in 2020.
  11. The UAE has the highest gender parity in the region, according to the 2023 Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  12. From being ranked 49th in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Gender Inequality Index in 2015, the UAE rose to the 18th place in 2020 and 11th in the 2022 edition of the index (and first regionally).
  13. The UAE has the highest score in the region in the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law study at 82.5 percent, due to law updates on women’s mobility, women in the workplace, pay, marriage and parenthood.
  14. The National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women was launched in 2015. This strategy sets out a comprehensive plan to promote women’s empowerment in all areas of society and is overseen by the UAE Gender Balance Council.

Key Emirati Women’s Day moments

Aisha Al Mansoori, the first female Emirati captain in a commercial airline (Etihad). Photo credit Etihad
Etihad pilot Aisha Al Mansoori, 33, became the UAE’s first female Emirati captain in 2022. She took her first flight in her new capacity on Emirati Women’s Day. Ms Al-Mansoori joined the UAE national airline in 2007 and said she hoped to be “an inspiration to young women to follow this career path”. She received her captain stripes from her sister, Major Mariam Al Mansoori, the UAE’s first female fighter pilot.
ADNOC signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles to mark Emirati Women’s Day 2022. These are the primary vehicle for corporate delivery on the gender equality dimensions (SDG 5) of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, group CEO of ADNOC, said: “Women are no longer a numerical percentage of ADNOC’s workforce but strong and influential human capital, instrumental in the company’s success.”
The UAE Gender Balance Strategy 2022-26, which aims to build the UAE’s global leadership and influence, was released by the UAE Gender Balance Council to coincide with Emirati Women’s Day 2022.
The Abaya Rally has been part of the Emirati Women’s Day celebrations since 2021 at Dubai Autodrome and Yas Marina Circuit. The UAE’s first all-women drive brings together 100+ women to promote equality and break stereotypes.

Related stories about Emirati women

Emirati Women’s Day – sites to follow

Emirati Women’s Day – hashtags to follow

  • #emiratiwomensday
  • #emiratiwomensday🇦🇪❤️
  • #emiratiwomensday2023
  • #womenempoweringwomen
  • #womeninleadership
  • #womeninbusinessuae
  • #womeninleadershipuae
  • #sdg5uae
  • #diversityisbeautiful
  • #diversitymatters
  • #diversityrocks