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Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Wins the ITU’s Personal Leadership Award

Abu Dhabi - Her Highness 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, received the 2016 Personal Leadership Award for achieving gender equality in the telecommunication and information technology field on a par with the global level, by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in recognition of Her Highness’ role in achieving gender equality in the telecommunication and information technology industry.

On behalf of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, His Highness Sheikh Dhiyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Board of Trustees of Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, received the award from Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU, during a ceremony held today at the GWU Headquarters in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Noura Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the GWU, and Reem Abdullah Al Falasi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and childhood. Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak expressed her gratitude and appreciation to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in recognition for all her efforts exerted in achieving gender equality in the telecommunication and information technology field worldwide.

In a speech delivered on behalf of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Her Excellency Reem Abdullah Al-Falasi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood said, “We know that this award came from a supreme global communication authority.

The ITU and UN Women jointly organized this annual event, honoring individuals or organizations, committed to advancing gender equality and empowering women through ICTs.” “We are pleased to have been chosen to receive this valuable, international award, which we regard as a medal for women in the United Arab Emirates, embodying the prestigious position occupied by Emirati women at the regional and international levels, as well as the leadership and excellence achieved, which have drawn the attention of the world in all fields, thanks to the support of the UAE wise leadership that empowered women to harness all opportunities and play a greater role in the development process,” she explained.

Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak stressed that this award constitutes a strong incentive for the UAE national women to innovate and score greater achievements, not only in the technology industry, but in all fields as well. "This valuable award reflects your appreciation for all our efforts exerted in supporting advanced programs in the modern telecommunications applications field," she concluded.

The Secretary-General of ITU, Houlin Zhao, also affirmed that Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak deserves this award, and that she is a pioneer in women’s empowerment in the UAE, whose efforts and activities to empower women in the area of modern technology are appreciated. He explained that the award focuses on the application of technology to empower and encourage women to work in the technology sector, as well as development of the information and communication technology management, including the concept of gender equality and ICT-related public policies.

In this respect, the gender equality awards, and their dissemination through technology, play an important role in highlighting inspiring projects, individuals and initiatives, as well as help ensuring that role models, good ideas, programs, and projects, and best practices could be presented and promoted at the global level. His Highness Sheikh Dhiyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Houlin Zhao, accompanied by Her Excellency Noura Al Suwaidi and Her Excellency Reem Al Falasi, toured the GWU’s Jawhara Hall that showcases hundreds of awards won by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak and the GWU, as well as the Centre for Heritage and Environmental Industries.

For her part, Director-General of the General Women's Union, Noura Al Suwaidi, expressed her pride with respect to the award won by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, stressing that it was received after exerting, since the beginning of the seventies, great efforts to provide UAE women with available opportunities.

In a statement, issued on this occasion, she said that Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has worked to unify all women’s efforts within one system under one umbrella, the General Women's Union, which was established on August 28, 1975 to serve as the official representative of women. This event was attended by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was keen to remove all obstacles that hindered women's progress and recognition of their rights.

Al Suwaidi explained that the UAE wise leadership, under His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as well as Their Highnesses members of the Federal Supreme Council and rulers of the UAE, has followed the same approach in supporting and providing women with available opportunities in all fields.

In this respect, Al Suwaidi affirmed, “Winning this award constitutes a pride for every UAE woman,” noting that the General Women's Union has worked under the guidance and great support of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak to empower women in the technology industry, to become an active member, along with men, in the nation’s development process. She pointed out that the General Women's Union launched the Productive Families Project, a commercial economic project that uses the concept of smart shopping through a dedicated application to empower Emirati families in the economic sector, and promote products to benefit both women and their families and society so as to improve their economic and social status by creating shopping opportunities. Through the use of technology, the application facilitates the community's access to productive families, by creating an integrated environment that combines marketers, productive families and buyers.

In this respect, the Project aims at encouraging productive families to contribute to achieving leadership in business management, by creating investment opportunities for women and generating financial returns, in addition to instilling a culture of entrepreneurship to ensure the generation of pioneering, creative, responsible and ambitious people, thus enhancing the UAE’s access to advanced positioning in the ease of business, global competitiveness, innovation and development indicators.

Al Suwaidi confirmed that, thanks to the continuous and unlimited support of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Emirati women have managed to achieve the highest social and economic indicators, compared to other women in other countries, as well as to occupy the highest positions and take part in the decision-making process, while maintaining the national identity and culture. Through this distinction, women pursue their journey in all social work aspects.

 

In this respect, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak’s role is deemed prominent in guiding women to prove their presence and existence, and to take advantage of all available opportunities to participate in sustainable development efforts, alongside men. She explained that UAE women now occupy the highest positions in all fields, and contribute effectively to the development and modernization process, through their participation in the executive, legislative, judicial authorities, as well as other various decision-making leadership positions in the UAE.

Al Suwaidi also noted that the General Women's Union journey is filled with activities and programs, aimed at building the capacity of women in the technology field. In this respect, the GWU’s inauguration of the Women and Technology Project in November 2006 aims at empowering women in the information technology industry.

 

The Women and Technology Project has been working on developing women's capacities, as well as training them to deal with the information revolution on a personal, family or professional level. In this respect, the program provided five key activities for participants and partner institutions, namely professional development training, business planning for sustainability, training on information technology through Microsoft’s “Limitless Ambitions”, as well as the women's professional development network, and professional exchange and capacity building.

The General Women's Union also launched the Digital Child Initiative, which aims at building the capacity of female children aged between 7 and 10 years during school leave, enabling them to acquire knowledge, encourage innovation, research and development, and connect with modern technologies. The Initiative seeks to equip students with computer skills, educate parents about the dangers of the Internet, and focus on the development of problem solving, logic, creativity and programming skills.

It also targets females, contributes to the dissemination of the e-culture, highlights the importance of the role of technology in the future industry, and implies many events, including awareness campaigns, summer programs, lectures, forums and training workshops. For his part, His Excellency Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director-General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), expressed his pride in Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak's award received, and said, “it is a great honor for the ITU to take this step, which constitutes a tribute to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak’s efforts to support UAE women. We, in the UAE, consider that our national march is one in which men and women participated side by side.

 

This has been demonstrated since the establishment of our glorious union. The founder of our union and the builder of our renaissance, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, expressed the same in his first speech, delivered after the Federation's declaration. Hence, the UAE literature continues to focus on the importance of the role of women, which is reflected in the UAE Vision 2021.” Al Mansoori said that, since the establishment of the UAE in 1971, it has relied on its men and women.

It is proud today to have become a regional and global leader in gender equality, especially in education, according to successive reports of the World Economic Forum. In this respect, a recent WEF report, which was issued during the current year, 2016, pointed to a positive paradox regarding the status of UAE women in the equation of the labor market, where their share of the labor market accounts for 66%.

He also noted that the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) works on the issuance of ICT sector regulations, in order to strengthen the knowledge-based national economy, given the fact that the development of the sector directly supports the process of social and economic growth, in line with the UAE Vision 2021. In this respect, it is worth mentioning that TRA provides support to the UAE’s ICT sector, by organizing the competitive process, protecting the interests of subscribers in telecommunications services, enhancing the efficiency of e-services, promoting investment and innovation in this vital sector, and providing an integrated working system to ensure the development of human capital.

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