REYKJAVIK, A UAE Parliamentary Division from the Federal National Council, FNC, participated in the Women Political Leaders, WPL, Annual Global Summit, in Reykjavik, Iceland, launched yesterday and will conclude today, with the participation of over 400 delegates from 150 countries, including heads of states and parliaments, academics and influential political and social figures.

In her opening address, Former Iceland President Vigdis Finnbogadottir, the world's first elected female president in 1980, said the accounts given in recent weeks will improve the environment for women in politics.

"This will change the attitude of both women and men," she said. "Women will be more confident discussing with men, and men more careful."

During a session titled "Women's Role in Politics," the UAE Parliamentary Division, which includes FNC members Naema Al Sharhan and Alya Al Jassim, highlighted the importance of achieving gender equality and empowering women by encouraging countries to adopt clear policies towards women, to narrow economic gap, achieve equality and promote role of women in society, in general, and parliamentary life, in particular, by educating and training talented women in parliamentary work.

During the session, Al Jassim presented the UAE's experience in empowering women, while adding that women in the UAE have been supported by the wise leadership since the founding of the country. Some of the key programmes established by the wise leadership to strengthen and promote role of women in the country's development and advancement include the establishment of the Gender Balance Council and the launch of the Gender Balance Guide, which aim to support the working environment for both genders and provide an important reference for the country's institutions, in both the public and private sectors, to reduce the gender gap, which will support UAE Vision 2021 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she added.

Al Jassim pointed out that the latest ministerial cabinet announced by the UAE Government includes nine female ministers, in addition to the significant role of women in the country's parliament, where women occupy eight out of 40 seats in the FNC. She also highlighted the appointment of Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi as the Speaker of the FNC, the first woman to head a parliamentary institution in the Arab world, which reflects the UAE's support and care for women, especially in the area of strengthening the participation of the country's sons and daughters in the decision-making process.

Al Jassim noted that women currently make up 20 percent of the diplomatic corps of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and females represent some 66 percent of public sector and technical positions, including in the sectors of medicine, engineering, education, pharmaceuticals, nursing and aviation. She also noted their involvement in the police and armed forces.

As an independent, international, post-partisan and non-profit foundation, the Reykjavik-based Women Political Leaders Global Forum (WPL) is the global network of female politicians.

The mission of WPL is to increase both the number and the influence of women in political leadership positions.

Source: Emirates News Agency