ABU DHABI, 3rd May, 2018 (WAM) — Dr. Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, stated that the UAE’s traditional religious values and Arab traditions were the reference for the initiatives of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to improve the status of women, which was obvious in his statements and actions, as he believed that Islam honours women and empowering them was an integral part of the nation’s religious and social culture.
During a lecture organised by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, ECSSR, titled, “Zayed and Women,” she said that Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the nation, was a man of tolerance and wisdom, and giving was part of his personality while stressing that the stature of Emirati women reflects the country’s efforts. The vision of Sheikh Zayed was ahead of its time, and he believed that the appreciation for women by their husbands, fathers and brothers, who chose to grant them their rights, is an indicator of the advancement and openness of the Emirati community, she added.
Dr. Al Shamsi stressed that there are two women who influenced Sheikh Zayed. The first was his mother, Sheikha Salama bint Butti, who was a wise and aware woman. She had considerable religious and social knowledge and believed that raising her sons, the Sheikhs, was a political, economic, religious and social duty.
The second woman is H.H. 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, the “Mother of the UAE,” who is wise and understood Sheikh Zayed’s ideas and vision, from the time he held the position of Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain. Sheikha Fatima worked on realising his ideas and took on the responsibilities, along with Sheikh Zayed, during the establishment of the Union, she further added.
Al Shamsi affirmed that Sheikh Zayed believed in the importance of educating women to eliminate illiteracy in the community and achieve overall women’s empowerment, which has been proved by many statistics.
She also enumerated several examples of the support from Sheikh Zayed to women, especially divorced women and widows, and praised the ongoing support of Sheikh Fatima for women’s empowerment.
During the lecture, which was attended by officials, scholars and journalists, Al Shamsi thanked the centre and Dr. Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the ECSSR, while praising the centre’s role in serving the community.