Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2023-08-07

Women in UAE’s Defence Industry Forge a Strong Future

”Since the establishment of the union, Emirati women have proven their competence and ability to perform tasks in various areas, which led to their outstanding achievements and hence, placement as inspiring role models for women around the world.  Emirati women have actively participated and excelled in the defence and security sector demonstrating their superiority in management and military work.”
 
Mona Ahmed Al Jaber, Chairwoman of Emirates Defense Companies Council (EDCC), shared: “Emirati women strive to create a unique model that brings pride to both the country’s leadership and its people. Their aspirations to serve the nation, which has bestowed so much upon them, are pursued with dedication, sincerity, and unwavering commitment to deliver meaningful and impactful work.” Excerpts from the interview:
 
Emirati Women’s Day celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of Emirati women. In your opinion, what are some of the notable achievements of Emirati women in the defence industry?
Since the journey of the UAE began under the leadership of the late founder, H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and with the unlimited support of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and the President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, who is also known as the “Mother of the Nation”, Emirati women have proven their ability to perform the most challenging tasks in numerous fields. The defence sector is one of the areas in which Emirati women have achieved remarkable accomplishments, becoming an additional defence force and a source of expertise alongside men in the Ministry of Defence.
 
The UAE’s female empowerment in the defence sector is considered an essential part of the planning and execution processes, as they are active partners in development and progress in various defence fields. They have made significant contributions and have become effective elements in the defence sector, earning trust and appreciation from our wise leadership. They have also created a distinguished model that is emulated at both regional and international levels.
 
Since the first cycle of national service began, Emirati women have responded to the call and enrolled in Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School (the Gulf region’s first military school for women) in large numbers as part of the first batch to engage in military work with the aim of developing their skills, capabilities, resilience, and strength.
 
Over the past years, the UAE has gained broad international recognition for its support of the “Women, Peace, and Security” agenda. This was initiated through the “Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Initiative for Women’s Empowerment in Peace and Security,” with the aim of training women workers in the military and security sector to engage them in peacekeeping operations.
 
The contributions of Emirati women in the development of innovation and technology in the defence sector, as well as the enhancement of advanced defence systems and technologies, are among the prominent achievements that specialised companies in the defence industry take pride in. These companies have provided a suitable working environment for them, believing in their capabilities, enabling them to achieve success and excellence in all areas of work. Moreover, the participation of Emirati women in defence exhibitions within the country and abroad reflects their pivotal and significant role in the industry.
 
The theme for Emirati Women’s Day 2023 is “We Collaborate for Tomorrow.” How do you envision the role of Emirati women in the defence sector evolving over the coming years?
The theme of Emirati Women’s Day for this year, “We Collaborate for Tomorrow,” embodies the approach of the UAE and its wise leadership in empowering women, enhancing their value, and activating their role in all fields, including the defence sector.

This comes under the unlimited support provided by our wise leadership towards empowering Emirati women and building their capacities to become active contributors in various vital and essential sectors in the comprehensive development process of the country. Defence is considered one of the most important sectors that will shape the fundamental elements of the nation’s strategy for the next 50 years.
 
The Emirati woman has been raised on a fundamental pillar, the love of her nation. Therefore, she is a pivotal element in the development of various sectors. She is also an active partner in achieving the future vision of the country in sustaining the defence sector. 
 
We believe in her role in this sector and have confidence that Emirati women are moving towards further development and progress in many positions, whether as members of the armed forces, specialists in technology, engineering, strategic planning fields, or specialists in innovation, technological development, operations management, decision-making, and other aspects of defence work. This is due to the supportive and inclusive environment provided by the UAE through training, vocational education, and equal opportunities for advancement and progress.
 
In your opinion, what unique perspectives and skills do women bring to the defence sector?
The Emirati woman possesses high competencies, skills, and dedication in serving the nation, and the female presence in strategic decisions and relevant policies will undoubtedly be strengthened in the future. We have full confidence that our women are determined to achieve further exceptional accomplishments, proving their professionalism and leadership excellence in various aspects.
 
I would like to point out that Emirati women actively participate across a wide spectrum of disciplines, regardless of their specialisation. Their contributions are not limited to working women alone. There are role models to be emulated, including homemakers who effectively contribute to raising and educating their children with love for their nation and the noblest meanings of sacrifice.
 
As the Chairwoman of EDCC, what initiatives has the council undertaken to empower and support women in the sector?
In accordance with the wise leadership’s vision, the strategy of the UAE, and its future aspirations, the Emirates Defense Companies Council is keen on supporting and encouraging its members to attract highly qualified and talented national women with high capabilities and qualifications to work in the defence sector. It aims to provide a supportive work environment for them to develop their skills and make their mark in the defence sector, demonstrating their abilities and dedication in serving the nation.
 
The council is keen on enhancing the presence of Emirati women in the defence sector and highlighting their outstanding capabilities and contributions through supporting the participation of defence companies in international defence exhibitions, which are organised by the council.
 
What are some of the challenges that Emirati women face in pursuing careers in the defence sector?
Historically, the sector was seen as exclusive to men. However, Emirati women have defied societal expectations, broken barriers, and demonstrated their capabilities, dedication, and exceptional performance in the defence sector. This is thanks to our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who tirelessly supported women, introduced female empowerment as a national pillar, and encouraged women’s integration into the workforce. Following his footsteps, President H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan unwaveringly supports the development of a female workforce, ensuring that they are capable of overcoming future challenges.
 
Emirati Women’s Day is an opportunity to inspire young women. What advice would you give to young Emirati women who aspire to have a career in the defence sector?
The presence of women in the defence sector directly contributes to the advancement and leadership of the UAE due to the civilised and honourable image it presents regarding empowering women and achieving gender equality. Therefore, I always encourage myself and those around me to exploit the available opportunities and resources provided by our visionary leadership through pursuing studies in various scientific fields and new specialties, to pursue our passions and to grow professionally so that we may better serve our country and promote a positive image of UAE women abroad.
 
What are some recent achievements or milestones that EDCC has accomplished? 
The EDCC has expanded its membership and presence in recent years by taking part in more regional and global gatherings. Strategic partnerships with several government agencies, including the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MOIAT) and the Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi (DED), has allowed us to broaden the scope of our collaborations. We have also signed memorandums of understanding and hosted defence companies from the U.S., UK, Canada, and Spain.
 
In addition to that, the council contributed to enhancing the participation of the UAE in external exhibitions by organising the national pavilion at DEFEA 2023 (Defence Exhibition Athens) and IDEF 2023 (International Defence Industry Fair) in Istanbul, as well as SOFEX 2022 (Special Operations Forces Exhibition) in the Jordanian capital, the Bahrain International Airshow 2022 at the Sakhir Airbase, and other leading global exhibitions .
 

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