President Sheikh Khalifa issued a decree calling for women to occupy 50 per cent of the country’s Federal National Council in next year’s elections.
The decision was tweeted by the UAE Government Communication Office on Saturday. The statement said the decision would “further empower Emirati women and bolster their contributions to development.
Elections for a new set of FNC members will be held next year. Women members currently represent 20 per cent of the 40 seats in the FNC, including the speaker, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi.
On Saturday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid threw his support behind the UAE President’s decision.
In a tweet, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai said the decision “gives a great push to the legislative, legal and parliamentary role of women in our [country’s] development.”
“Women are half the society and deserve to represent this half in our Federal National Council,” he said.
Women hold important positions in a variety of fields across the Emirates. Nine members of the UAE Cabinet are women and others hold positions in vital sectors such as the diplomatic service, engineering, medicine and law.
Women occupy 66 per cent of government jobs and at least half are in decision-making positions, according to data from the General Women’s Union.