Unique Emirati efforts to support and empower women
The march of renaissance and comprehensive development experienced by the United Arab Emirates would not have been achieved without the concerted efforts of all segments of society, led by Emirati women, who have become an active element in various fields and sectors.
Today, Emirati women are in the midst of a frantic global race towards excellence, exclusivity and success, and their banners are flying high and lofty wherever they go and travel.
Emirati women knocked on the doors of success, and broke the stereotype of Arab women in general, and today they form a living model for thinking outside the box, with the support of a rational leadership that enacted laws and legislation guaranteeing women’s rights in all aspects of life, and devoted efforts to serve them and see them “doctors, engineers, diplomats”, as the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul, dreamt to see them one day.
Emirati initiatives and cross-border efforts
Experiences have proven, and still are, that Emirati women were not satisfied with realizing the dream of the founding father, but went further. Today, we see them innovating in fields that were exclusively for men for a long time.
The initiatives of the UAE and the efforts of its wise leadership to support women were not limited to the national scale, but rather crossed the borders of the country, carrying upon themselves noble tasks aimed at supporting Arab women in general and strengthening their presence at all levels.
Emirati commitment to promoting the role of women in peace and security
Emirati initiatives and projects in the field of supporting women are many, and each initiative has a success story and an inspiring experience, not only written in the honorable history of the UAE, but in the history of all mankind, and establishes a promising future that tells the stories of Emirati efforts, which today have become a unique icon in empowering women.
The UAE is keenly keen on employing women’s efforts in various fields, and has made great efforts to benefit from women’s efforts in the defense and security field.
Facts and figures indicate that women constituted 1% of the participants in UN peacekeeping operations in 1993, and in 2020, they constituted 4.8% of the forces with military missions and 10.9% of the forces with police tasks out of a total of 95,000 individuals working within the UN peacekeeping forces.
Fatima Bint Mubarak Center for Women, Peace and Security
To emphasize the role of the United Arab Emirates and its efforts to support the active participation of women in all sectors, especially the peace and security sectors, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation “Mother of the Nation”, gave her directions last June 2021 to inaugurate the “Fatima Bint Mubarak Center for Women, Peace and Security”.
The launch of the center came within the initiative of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak for Women, Peace and Security, in cooperation between the General Women’s Union and UN Women.
On this occasion, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak affirmed the UAE’s keenness to build national, regional and global capacities in the field of women, peace and security, and to contribute to creating an enabling environment for women and raising public awareness about gender and peacekeeping, as well as enhancing the role of decision-makers in the Arab region and the international community to build their capacity to support women’s participation in peacebuilding processes and activities.
Her Highness said: “The center represents a wonderful opportunity and a role model in consolidating international cooperation in spreading knowledge and promoting the exchange of information and best practices on the women, peace and security agenda, as well as strengthening the capacities of the competent authorities, especially those working in government agencies, to ensure support for women’s participation in leadership positions in various peace processes locally and internationally, and to achieve the highest possible benefit to create a new reality and a welcome space for women to be leaders and decision-makers. In this regard, I am pleased to commend the efforts of the General Women’s Union in cooperation with the United Nations Women’s Liaison Office for the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council, to continue its growing role in seeking all means aiming at supporting and empowering women in the field of peace and security.
Her Highness added: “The UAE’s pioneering model in supporting the full, equal and effective participation of women in all vital and developmental fields, especially the security sector, is a living embodiment of the wise leadership’s efforts headed by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces “may God protect him”, and his His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and their brothers, Their Highnesses, members of the Supreme Council of the Federation, Rulers of the emirates, to advance the aspirations of the Emirati women, which was behind the successes achieved by the daughters of the Emirates in various fields, whether in global indicators of gender balance, participation in the labor market, or assuming leadership positions and other successes and gains in various sectors.
Regarding the center’s objectives, Her Excellency Noura Al-Suwaidi, Secretary-General of the General Women’s Union, says that this center “aims at exchanging the experiences of multiple sectors to meet the ongoing and emerging challenges, and to provide the necessary operational approaches for gender mainstreaming in various sectors, including partner countries and peacekeeping missions, as well as on promoting analysis, research and innovation on issues related to women, peace and security, in a manner that embodies the efforts made by the General Women’s Union, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in cooperation with UN Women, on the agenda of women, peace and security.
She explained that the center will provide several types of training courses inside and outside the country, as it will allow participants to learn face to face, which will combine presentations, interactive activities and group discussions to transfer and exchange knowledge, and will allow virtual self-education, which will provide virtual self-training courses, which will allow learners to have access to content from anywhere at any time, and the center will also offer the opportunity of blended learning, which will combine blended courses between online learning and face-to-face learning.
The inauguration of Fatima Bint Mubarak Center for Women, Peace and Security came after the launch of the UAE’s national plan to implement Resolution 1325 issued by the United Nations Security Council, based on the UAE’s keenness to carry out its efforts to promote equality between men and women, as an essential policy of the State, and to unleash the important role that women play in peace and security sectors, by unifying the efforts of 14 national “federal and local bodies and civil society institutions” that participated in the membership of the committee responsible for preparing the plan headed by the General Women’s Union.
Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Initiative to Empower Women in Peace and Security
This new achievement is also one of the fruits of the “Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Initiative to Empower Women in Peace and Security” (formerly the Women, Peace and Security Training Program), which is one of the most important initiatives established by the UAE under the generous patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, President of the General Women’s Union Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation.
The Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Initiative to Empower Women in Peace and Security was established in partnership between the Ministry of Defense in the United Arab Emirates and the General Women’s Union, with support from UN Women.
The initiative was launched after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Defense, the General Women’s Union and UN Women in September 2018.
The name of the initiative of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak to Empower Women in Peace and Security aimed to empower women to on this pioneering training program in September 2020 on the sidelines of the celebrations of the twentieth anniversary of the launch of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, and to celebrate the twenty-year anniversary of the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security on October 31 in 2000. This resolution urged the Security Council, the Secretary-General, Member States and all other parties to take the necessary measures to increase women’s participation in decision-making processes and peace processes, to enhance the participation of women in training and gender equality policies in peace processes.This historic decision underscores the importance of including women in reporting systems and program implementation mechanisms.
Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security was unanimously adopted, and it was important to women around the world. It was the first resolution to affirm the link between armed conflict and the negative impacts on women, and to recognize the burdens that women bear during conflicts, but also the importance of women’s participation and leadership in preventing and resolving conflicts.
The UAE initiative succeeded in a short time in involving 357 women from several Arab, African and Asian countries in the initiative program in its two sessions during 2019 and 2020, where strategic partners praised the initiative program as a unique and successful model.
First training course 2019
The first session of the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Initiative to Empower Women in Peace and Security was launched in January 2019, and 134 women from several Arab countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen participated in this pioneering program that aims to increase women’s participation in peace and security efforts.
The 15-week training course was hosted the Khawla Bint Al Azwar Military School in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi. It is the first military college for women in the Gulf, and was established in 1990. The course included three months of military training and two weeks of peacekeeping training. The participants graduated after Completion of the course in April 2019.
Second training session 2020
The second session of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak’s initiative to empower women in peace and security was launched in January 2020 with 223 participants from 11 African, Asian and Arab countries. Most of the participants came from military and police backgrounds with previous training. The participating countries included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Jordan, Mauritania, Pakistan, Senegal, UAE and Yemen. Military training and peacekeeping training were completed at Khawla Bint Al Azwar Military School in Abu Dhabi, and the participants graduated from the second session of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak’s initiative to empower women in peace and security in April 2020.
The “Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Initiative for Empowerment of Women in Peace and Security” aims to have 15% of women participate in peacekeeping forces with military missions and 25% of women as observers and staff officers by 2028, and also aims to have 20% of women participate in forces with police missions and 30% as police officers by 2028.
The initiative also aims to build women’s capabilities and increase their participation in military and peacekeeping operations.
It also aims to increase women’s participation in the military and peacekeeping sector and enhance the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations, based on Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security and related subsequent resolutions.
The Emirati initiative seeks to provide training and capability building for women in the security sector, inspire participants to join their own national security forces, enhance the work of women working in peacekeeping, in addition to creating networks between participants to provide support during future peacekeeping operations.
At the end of last June 2021, the General Women’s Union announced the launch of the website of the initiative of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak for Women, Peace and Security in both Arabic and English, in conjunction with the launch of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Center for Women, Peace and Security, as part of the initiative.
- Ikram Bandala (military researcher)