x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

'People's perceptions will change', says UAE ambassador

Azza Al Mughairy is the ambassador at the Monte Carlo Beach Club. The 26-year-old turned her back on a career in banking when the tourism and cultural authority offered her a job.

Azza Al Mughairy, an Emirati ambassador, at the Monte Carlo Beach Club in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
Azza Al Mughairy, an Emirati ambassador, at the Monte Carlo Beach Club in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // Azza Al Mughairy is the ambassador at the Monte Carlo Beach Club. The 26-year-old is at the front of house, having turned her back on a career in banking when the tourism and cultural authority offered her the role - "an opportunity I felt I couldn't turn down".

But leaving behind her 8-4 job at the bank was not easy.

"In Government, I would take home three times what I get here," she said. "A lot of Emiratis want to take the easier way, taking home a huge amount of money and having that free time. The private sector can't compete with the Government, so that's the main obstacle."

Although her family supported her decision, she said: "Emiratis still walk in and look at me like, 'what are you doing here?'."

But attitudes are changing. "Some Emiratis tell me they are proud to see an Emirati doing my job," she said. "It shows the country in a different way - the support for women.

"Seeing people like us will change perceptions of women - the misconception that they sit at home and don't do anything. Things have already changed a lot.

"Six years ago, I'd have said you'd never see a woman in this role."

mswan@thenational.ae