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Celebrating UAE’s leading women on International Women’s Day

by Tanvir Awan
international women day uae dubai.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, it’s an opportune moment to reflect on the indomitable spirit and remarkable achievements of women in the UAE.

From breaking barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields to spearheading social initiatives that foster inclusivity and progress, women in the UAE have continuously shattered stereotypes and blazed trails of success.

Their unwavering dedication, resilience, and innovative prowess have not only transformed the fabric of Emirati society but have also garnered global recognition.

Dubai Newsweek delves into the lives and contributions of some of the UAE’s most prominent women, whose endeavors have left an indelible mark on the nation’s history and continue to inspire generations to come.

From business magnates and cultural icons to pioneers in science and technology, these women embody the essence of empowerment and serve as beacons of progress in the quest for gender equality and societal advancement.

Alisha Moopen, Managing Director & Group CEO, Aster DM Healthcare GCC

“The global workforce participation rate for women hovers slightly above 50%, in contrast to the 80% rate for men. This underscores an underlying issue: women are less likely to participate in formal employment. Traditional gender roles, societal expectations and gender wage gaps frequently restrict women’s opportunities for education and employment. While women hold the intelligence, resilience, and capability to create meaningful impact, their absence in integral spheres of the society, including economy, governance and culture undermines our growth and development.

Alisha Moopen, Managing Director & Group CEO, Aster DM Healthcare GCC

“We are lucky to be living in a country like UAE, where women are considered “partners in progress, builders of generations, mothers of martyrs, and achievers” and given equal opportunities as men to achieve their dreams. UAE stands as a role model for inspiring inclusion, having invested in the right policies and infrastructure required to support women to empower themselves through education, career opportunities, support their families, become entrepreneurs among many other avenues. The country has been ranked first in the Arab world and 11th globally on the gender inequality index (GII) of the UNDP’s Human Development Report 2022.

“It is truly creditable that UAE leaped 38 positions on the GII since the UAE Gender Balance Council was established barely seven years ago. I take pride in sharing that at Aster, more than 60% of our workforce comprises of remarkable women, with a significant number holding upper-management and leadership positions. Embracing diversity is not just a commitment for us; it is our strength.

According to a McKinsey report, if we advance women’s equality in society, we could add $12 trillion to the global GDP by 2025. It is time that the rest of the world also recognizes the potential of women and undertakes the necessary measures to ensure a greater number of women gain education, training and the right opportunities to contribute to the development of the world.”

Samara Iqbal, Solicitor, Director and Founder of Aramas International Lawyers

Samara Iqbal is a resilient entrepreneur and seasoned global solicitor with over 20 years of experience in International Family Law and a passion for helping expatriate families in need navigate challenging domestic circumstances.

Samara Iqbal, Solicitor, Director and Founder of Aramas International Lawyers

As a personable and approachable professional, she is recognised for her determination to deliver the best results for her clients with comprehensive and customized legal support in various elements of family law including divorce, jurisdiction, finances, and children, in the UAE, wider region and globally. Having attained extensive expertise with several reputable law firms in both the UK and the UAE, Samara set up her own niche boutique law firm – Aramas Family Law in 2019 in Manchester (UK) that specialised in achieving Family Law settlements and offering the best possible experience throughout challenging family situations. She has since expanded to the Middle East with dedicated offices in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Doha (Qatar) and most recently in Abu Dhabi (UAE) in 2023.

Basma Chaieri, Founder of Etika Jewels

Basma’s journey with Etika Jewels® began with a revelation during a documentary about mined diamonds, pushing her to explore lab-grown alternatives.

Recognizing that lab-grown diamonds are physically and chemically identical to their mined counterparts, she founded a brand that supports responsible luxury and empowers women with effortless looks and confidence. At the age of 38, Basma embarked on a new educational journey, mastering carbon chemistry, diamonds, and gemology to become a Certified Diamond Grader.

Basma Chaieri, Founder of Etika Jewels

Leveraging her digital industry experience, she reinvented the jewelry shopping experience for women, creating a brand that resonates with the modern, active, trendy, caring, and determined woman. With a worldly perspective gained from living in 8 different cities, Basma is bringing an innovative approach to sustainable and conscious jewelry. Basma’s visionary leadership and Etika Jewels®’ commitment to ethical luxury and social responsibility make them a beacon in the evolving landscape of lab-grown jewellery.

Etika Jewels was one of the first jewellery brands to introduce carbon-neutral diamonds, to the UAE, and the brand has collaborated with organizations like Gulf for Good to protect children from inhumane conditions created by diamond mining.

Pippa Clark, Managing Director of Hamilton Aquatics UAE

Hailing from a family of world record-breaking swimmers and representing Great Britain in her teenage years as a bi-athlete in running and swimming, Pippa Clark deeply understood the transformative power of swimming after being immersed in the sport during her youth which sparked a strong passion.

Pippa Clark

After joining Hamilton Aquatics in 2011 as a swimming teacher, Pippa with her keen business mind, swiftly realized that although the academy was already quite successful with its international swimmers by the time she joined, it had a huge potential to help develop the art of swimming further in the region. She realized that combining her love for swimming with her extensive finance and business background will allow her to make a profound impact on the sport in the region.

With a vision to revolutionize swimming in the region, Pippa seamlessly combined her love for the sport with her extensive business background. An inspiring team leader with an exceptional business mind, Pippa spearheads a talented and dedicated team of experts to continue to push boundaries to develop the academy and elevate the concept of swimming in the region.

Under her guidance, Hamilton Aquatics has evolved into a powerhouse, constantly pushing new boundaries, and setting new benchmarks in the world of aquatic education, including hosting the Dubai Open Swimming Championship, one of the most prominent swimming events in the region.

Professor Emily Nason, Director of Undergraduate Recruitment & Admissions and Associate Professor of Business Education, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

Professor Nason is the Director of Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions at HKUST – a world-class research-intensive university that focuses on science, engineering, and business as well as humanities and social science. She is also a member of the university’s leadership team and is responsible for furthering the University’s strategic objective to be a University of choice for talents, by proactively recruiting and admitting student talents of varied excellence to HKUST’s undergraduate programs.

Professor Emily Nason

She is well experienced in undergraduate education and has taken up various leadership roles within the Business School, including 7 years as Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programs) and 9 years as Director of the Global Business Program, and served on multiple university and external committees over the past 18 years. A passionate educator, Prof. Nason believes the most important aspects of youth education are character building, instilling a passion in lifelong learning and making positive impacts.

As a committed teacher and mentor, she has achieved multiple accolades, including being elected three times for “HKUST Best Ten Lecturers” and a winner of the Business School’s Franklin Prize for Teaching Excellence, and has been nominated for a plethora of other awards.

She is currently assisting HKUST recruit top young talent from the UAE and the wider Middle East region to pursue undergraduate programs at the university.

tanvir@dubainewsweek.com

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