x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

First female marriage clerk is appointed

A woman will be allowed to conduct marriage ceremonies in Abu Dhabi for the first time.

ABU DHABI // A woman will be allowed to conduct marriage ceremonies here for the first time. The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department appointed Fatema Saeed Obaid al Awwanni, 33, as its first female marriage clerk. Mrs Awwanni was appointed after a directive from Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the chairman of the Judicial Department and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to bring more women into the justice system. She will be the second woman in the world to conduct Muslim marriage contracts, after Amal Suleiman Afifi of Egypt.

Mrs Awwanni has a bachelor's degree in Shariah law from UAE University, where she graduated in 2000. She is married and has two children. The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department earlier appointed the first two female public prosecutors, Aleya Saeed al Qaabi and Atiqqah Awad al Qatheeri, as well as Kholoud Ahmed Jouan al Dhaheri, who was appointed the first female judge. Those appointments were also made as part of Sheikh Mansour's directive.

In 2004 Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, a member of the Sharjah royal house, was appointed economics and planning minister and later became Minister of Foreign Trade. She is one of four female UAE ministers. ealghalib@thenational.ae