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Women equal partners in UAE's development
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 03 - 2016

SHARJAH — Women in the UAE have participated in their country's development on an equal footing alongside men, benefiting from their rights in education, work and equal opportunities and salaries, said Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of Nama Women Advancement Establishment.
"Women's rights in the UAE have been based on the reality of partnership between women and men to achieve social and economic stability for both the family and the community," she pointed out.
"With the development that the UAE has seen since its establishment, the supreme leadership's confidence has increased in the abilities of Emirati women, and in our contribution to the country's growth," she said.
Sheikha Jawaher's comments were made in her keynote speech at the third session of the fifth International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2016), which is currently underway at the Expo Centre Sharjah.
Moderated by Muna Abu Sulayman, media personality from MBC, the session drew the participation of Helen Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Programme and Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008), Tina Brown, journalist, founder of Women in the World and CEO of Tina Brown Live Media, Dr Sakena Yacoobi, President and Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), and Lawrence Chickering, Founder and President of Educate Girls Globally.
Helen Clark, who reached the highest status a woman can ever hope to achieve in the political sector in New Zealand, reiterated that a country cannot realize its sustainable goals if women are left behind. Clark stated that it is crucial for women to claim leadership roles for two key reasons: first, young girls will look at female leaders as role models and strive to achieve more from a younger age; second, the only way to bring about change that impacts women on a societal level – such as longer parental leave, equal job opportunities and equal pay – is for women to assume leadership roles in politics.
Clark added: "The right and smart thing for the world to do is to promote equal status of women. It is up to us to not kick the ladder away, but keep it for the rest of women, for the younger generation of women, to climb that ladder."
In empowering tribal girls in remote areas in India through the Educate Girls Globally program, Lawrence Chickering said: "Assets are people. The program empowered the girls at first, but young girls took ownership. The only currency that was needed was empowerment."
Dr Sakena Yacoobi, who is putting her efforts into establishing the first university in Afghanistan, stated that the talks of citizenship and female leadership can be discussed in depth only after educating women.
She said: "We need to educate young women to let them know about the rights they are entitled to. We need to establish a school curriculum that would enable them to understand issues of human rights, government, and female leadership."
On the issue of educating women, Tina Brown pointed out: "Men fear educating women because they know that when you educate women, nothing will stop them."
Asserting the importance of communication, Brown said that a platform, such as the Women in the World summit, is critical for drawing the media's attention to women who live behind the headlines. She said the media is an important tool for these women to share their messages worldwide, to be introduced to potential supporters and donors, and to build network for future cooperation.

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