SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates – In a bid to boost the role of women, the eighth edition of the international government communication forum devoted a session on Thursday to discussing women in United Arab Emirates and the Middle East.
The interactive session, titled “Pioneering Thought of Women Advancement,” was held in cooperation with the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment organization, and was aimed at finding ways to empower women across all fields in the Persian Gulf nation.
During the session, NAMA director Reem BinKaram stressed “the importance of changing institutions’ behavior and writing new laws that support efforts to integrate women in all sectors and in particular private enterprise.”
Reem also highlighted the UAE’s state support for local women which includes ensuring that 50 percent of the UAE Federal National Council is made up of female members.
Nouf Tahlak, adviser to the secretary general of the UAE Cabinet, who took part in the session, shed light on the role of women in the Emirates, pointing out achievements such as the UAE state having nine female ministers.
Meanwhile, the general director and cultural adviser at the UAE’s cultural and media office of the supreme council for family affairs, Saleha Ghabish, highlighted the importance of Thursday’s session.
However, Ghabish critiqued the prototypical women displayed on TV shows in the Persian Gulf as being either helpless or authoritarian.
The forum, which got under way Wednesday at the Sharjah Expo Center, concluded after holding 34 sessions in which a total of 70 global government communications experts took part.
Among those experts was Roger Fisk, head of the political campaign, marketing and media strategies for former US President Barack Obama, and Craig Oliver, director of politics and communications for former UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
The UAE is a union of emirates made up of Abu Dhabi (the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. Each emirate has its own ruler and together the seven rulers of the seven emirates comprise the Federal Supreme Council. The UAE has a huge expatriate population of roughly 9 million with only 1.5 million Emirati citizens.
Over the past decade, the UAE’s foreign diplomat activities have increased exponentially as the government has donated vast sums of money to provide stability to states across the Middle East.
The UAE was one of the first nations to oppose the Islamic State terror organization and has been a key backer of the Saudi-directed fight against Houthi Shiite forces in Yemen.