16 February 2020
The wise leadership of the UAE strives to enhance the participation of women in all sectors including energy, which is no longer exclusive to men. Women in the UAE are key partners in the development process. The UAE has become a global model for empowering society through women. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, once said, ‘We have moved beyond the phase of empowering women. Indeed, we are empowering society itself through its women.’
For about five decades, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, President of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and President of Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, known as the ‘Mother of the Nation,’ has played a pivotal role in empowering women, promoting their potential, and launching initiatives and projects to empower them locally, regionally, and internationally. This is done through a motivating environment that contributes to developing women’s capabilities, inspired by the approach of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may his soul rest in peace.
Her Highness Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; and Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment, and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, exert sincere efforts in women empowerment and leadership. These efforts culminated in the UAE jumping 23 positions to 26th in the 2019 UNDP Gender Equality Index, making it the highest-ranked Arab country in the world. The UAE was ranked 49th in the world in 2015.
DEWA is one of the most prominent national organisations that support women in the energy sector, especially renewable and clean energy and sustainability. We are pleased that DEWA is the Strategic Sustainability Partner of the Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020. This is organised by Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and headed by Her Excellency Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board and Managing Director of DWE.
DEWA’s sponsorship of the Forum supports its vision to become a globally leading sustainable innovative corporation that keeps pace with the latest developments in energy, and supports the UAE’s sustainability efforts and increasing the share of clean and renewable energy sources to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment and natural resources. This will mitigate climate change effects, which impacts women and children the most. The forum’s programme and topics align with DEWA’s efforts in empowering society through women and enhances their participation in development sectors. DEWA is one of the largest government organisations to employ women in technical positions within the energy sector across Dubai. DEWA has 1,933 women in its workforce, 80% being Emirati. This includes 646 female engineers and technicians at DEWA, 87% of whom are Emiratis.
DEWA’s female staff take part in numerous voluntary activities inside and outside of the UAE. In 2019, they spent over 13,300 volunteering hours in 40 humanitarian and social initiatives. Female staff also actively participate in conservation and community awareness programmes, especially those that target women. Over the past 10 years, these programmes and initiatives, have achieved significant savings in electricity and water use within various stakeholder groups. Cumulative savings reached 2 terrawatthours (TWh) of electricity and 7.4 billion gallons of water, equivalent to AED 1.2 billion. The savings contributed to reducing one million tonnes of carbon emissions.
The success of sustainable development programmes is closely linked to the active participation of women. Environmental awareness help women make the right decisions, such as buying eco-friendly products; recycling; and other decisions that protect the environment and natural resources. Providing women with sound environmental information, enable them to promote those practices among their children and engage them in environmental awareness and education. The Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 will be an important platform to highlight women’s influence in different development sectors, especially sustainability and protecting the environment and natural resources.