The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) organized a workshop themed ‘Women Empowerment in the Industrial Sector’ in line with Abu Dhabi’s hosting of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) 18th General Conference.
H.E. Rashed Abdul Karim Al Balooshi, ADDED Undersecretary, said: “The workshop’s theme focuses on one of the key topics which will be discussed during the UNIDO General Conference. In this regard, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) within ADDED seeks to bring to light the importance of this topic to the Abu Dhabi society.”
H.E. Al Balooshi highlighted the capabilities of Emirati women in playing key roles in various fields, including the industrial sector which is one of the most important sectors in need of increased levels of creativity, innovation and active participation by UAE nationals, considering that the sector opens many new job opportunities related to artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced technologies.
The workshop included presentations led by Anoud Saleh Al Marzouqi, Head of Environment, Health and Safety Systems at the Bureau, who emphasized that more than 40 per cent of IDB’s employees are UAE nationals.
She added that at the level of semi-government bodies, femaleswho hold positions at strata manufacturing have reached 58 per cent, 90% of which are UAE nationals. From a total of 365 female employees, 21 out of 34 team leaders are UAE nationals. In addition, females occupy 19 per cent of top positions in Emirates Global Aluminium Company, while at the Emirates Steel Company, the average number of UAE national employees is 500, 70 of which are females, out of the total 2,200 employees.
Al Marzouqi noted that with the huge presence of industrial facilities and private sector companies in Abu Dhabi, the number of citizens working in the field remains low and needs to be enhanced through the provision ofemployment opportunities to ensure citizens and women with secured jobs in various disciplines. She cited that currently, there are 49 citizens working in several facilities located within Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD); 1, 2 and 3 industrial zones of the Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (Zones Corp); Khalifa Industrial City Abu Dhabi (Kizad) and several industrial facilities in Mussafah area.
The presentation further revealed that a total of 114 industrial licenses are owned by women in the emirate with a total investment value of AED 7.4 billion, of which 60 factories are producing AED 6 billion.
Asma Al Ameri, from Abu Dhabi Ports within Kizad presented during the workshop that UAE female staff within Kizad represents 64 per cent of the total employees. Al Ameri further stated that Kizad contributed to 3.6 per cent to the non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) of Abu Dhabi in 2018 and is targeting to achieve 15 per cent contribution by 2030.
Eng. Nouf Al Obaid, Assistant Director of Capital Projects Department at Emirates International Aluminium Company, highlighted that the Emirates Global Aluminium Company is one of the largest aluminium producers in the world, producing 2.6 tons of cast aluminium production and representing 4 per cent of the global aluminium production. The company is also the first UAE industrial company to license its core industrial technologies internationally.
Eng. Al Obaid reiterated that Emirates Global Aluminium which contributes 1.4 per cent to the UAE’s annual GDP, valued at USD 5 billion, has huge opportunity to provide jobs with the aluminium sector providing up to 60,000 job opportunities in the UAE. Out of which, it employs only about 7,000 UAE nationals.
In terms of Emirati women empowerment in the field of heavy industries, Nouf explained that more than 19 per cent of the total administrative and supervisory job vacancies in the company are occupied by female UAE nationals.
Dr. Majida Al-Azazi, a UAE businesswoman who holds an Applied Doctorate in Supply Chain and Manufacturing Management from the UAE University, explained that women empowerment in the industrial sector is very important and increasing their role as well as supporting their projects towards success will boost their major contribution in developing and enhancing the role of the industry in making significant contributions to the Abu Dhabi’s GDP.
She cited several indices that highlighted the contribution of Emirati women to the national economy, in which women hold 30 per cent of leadership and decision-making positions. Along with that, 66 per cent of government employees are women, representing 25 per cent of the total workforce in the country with 30 per cent of them owning small and medium-sized enterprises. Furthermore, the number of UAE women entrepreneurs have reached to 23,000, contributing earnings that amount up to USD 15 billion.
Dr. Al-Azazi concluded that addressing women’s economic participation is one of the Abu Dhabi government’s top priorities, having established key institutions for women such as the General Women's Union (GWU), the Family Development Foundation, the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council among others.