The UAE celebrates Emirati Women's Day 2023

28 August 2023 4 min. read

The UAE today celebrates the ‘Emirati Women’s Day’, a day that celebrates the achievements of Emirati woman and their pivotal contribution to the country’s sustainable development and future.

Introduced eight years ago by Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (also known as the ‘Mother of the Nation’), Emirati Women’s Day is celebrated annually on August 28 – coinciding with the establishment of the UAE’s General Women’s Union in 1975.

Every year, Emirati Women’s Day is celebrated with a theme. This year, the theme is ‘We Collaborate for Tomorrow’, aligning with UAE’s declaration of 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’ as the region prepares for hosting the UN’s climate change conference COP28.

The UAE celebrates Emirati Women's Day 2023

In the Middle East, the UAE already ranks as the leader when it comes to gender equality. According to a 2022 report by the World Economic Forum, the UAE tops the region’s gender equality rankings on several metrics, including enrollment in education, women in private sector leadership positions, women in Parliament, and sex ratio at birth.

“The UAE has witnessed major transformations across various domains, especially in women’s affairs and their social participation. Women’s empowerment received exceptional attention, enabling the UAE to rank first among Arab countries and 68th globally in global competitiveness indicators in 2022,” Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak said.

There remains significant progress to be made, however. Globally, the UAE ranks 68th of all nations assessed, highlighting the gap that still needs to be bridged with frontrunners.

To accelerate progress, Sheikha Fatima yesterday launched the ‘National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women in the UAE for 2023-2031’, which aims to develop the legislative and regulatory environment that supports and enables women’s quality of life, and strengthens their position at the national and international levels.

The strategy revolves around three pillars: establishing interdependent, cohesive and supportive families to enhance the role of women in society; Integration of women in the labour market and future sectors; and Developing capacities and enhancing future skills of women.

The General Women’s Union, in partnership with relevant government bodies, is responsible for implementing the strategy, while various ministries, agencies, and civil society organisations will play supporting roles.

Over the past recent years, the UAE already issued new legislations and legislative amendments for more than 20 legal articles that included the areas of work, protection, political participation, personal status, judicial corps, wages, banking transactions, freedom of movement, marriage, entrepreneurship, property and pension, all of which enhanced the position of women.

Meanwhile, the UAE sees COP28 as a major event to showcase its advancements in gender equality. Dozens of prominent female figures will be leading the charge during COP28, comprising two-thirds of the leadership team and over 50 percent of the administrative team. “We’re setting an example through our sustainable approach to recognising the competence, excellence and creativity of Emirati women,” said Sheikh Fatima.

Commenting on Emirati Women’s Day, Nadya Abdulla Kamali, UAE Country Managing Director at Accenture said: “Today is a testament to the power of female leaders uniting to drive meaningful change. True gender equality requires actionable steps and visible role models, a sentiment that resonates profoundly with this year's theme, ‘We Collaborate for Tomorrow’.”

“This theme takes on added significance through the unwavering leadership of Emirati women, who are actively shaping the dialogue on climate change in preparation for COP28. Their enduring commitment to sustainability and innovation propels us forward, forging a path towards a fairer and more balanced world.”

According to recent research from PwC, adding more women to the workforce could add as much as $2 trillion to the Middle East’s gross domestic product. Another study from KPMG shows that UAE-based female leaders are keen on contributing their part to the broader workforce transition.