Emirati women have always played an important role in the development and growth of the UAE as a direct result of the efforts of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi, who launched Emirati Women’s Day in 2015. She paved the way for Emirati women, such as myself, to realize our dreams and achieve the impossible, a mantra I remember everyday in my role as Head of Outreach and Stakeholders Relation department at Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar).
As part of my role at Masdar, I have also helped to grow the company’s Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy platform (WiSER). Through WiSER we work to position women of all ages as drivers of change and innovation, while ensuring that their voices are heard across the sustainability debate.
But whilst we have accomplished so much in this space for women, there’s still more work to be done. This comes with establishing more programs that give our female peers the opportunity to thrive in society, as well as continuing to empower one another to join the energy field, a priority sector for the UAE.
The journey begins with STEM education
More than ever before, we are witnessing a significant increase in the contributions of Emirati women to the energy sector, which requires skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The UAE, Mubadala and partners have been phenomenal in offering Emirati women the chance to learn about STEM subjects with the STEM Summer Competition hosted by Mubadala and the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) as a prime example. In addition, WiSER’s WiSER Wisdom Series, a virtual knowledge sharing platform, regularly invites STEM experts from around the world to pass on their knowledge and experience to our WiSER Pioneers, who are young women with careers in a field related to environment, energy, sustainability or STEM.
STEM subjects are without doubt the key to our future as we move further towards a knowledge-based economy. A large majority of jobs will be linked to careers focused on STEM subjects, which are crucial to success in the energy sector. This is also underscored in the 2018 edition of the Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum , which highlights data analysts and scientists among the range of established roles that are set to experience increasing demand in the years up to 2022.
Never underestimate the power of emotional intelligence
In addition to STEM, I also want to note that to succeed in the workforce, emotional intelligence cannot be underestimated. Certain emotional intelligence qualities play into the top 10 vital skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as defined by the World Economic Forum ; and, in fact, Masdar’s own Future Skills 2030 Report identifies emotional intelligence as one of the 14 skills young people will need to learn to thrive in future jobs. Furthermore, 71% of hiring managers say they value high emotional intelligence over IQ.
The energy sector is a priority focus for today but more importantly for tomorrow, too
Whilst the energy sector is a present day priority, it’s also vital on a longer-term global scale due to the consequences of climate change. Masdar has, of course, contributed to the UAE’s positioning as a forward-thinking nation and a leader in the renewable energy sector and climate mitigation, but it’s now more important than ever for women to focus on these areas. With this, we as a society can help develop innovative solutions to meet the energy and climate challenges of the world.
Emirati women are pioneers in their own right
Emirati women are important members of society but are also ambassadors for the UAE. By being involved in platforms such as WiSER and continuing to empower one another, Emirati women will continue to not only exceed in the energy sector but be shining examples to females of all ages worldwide.