x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

The sky is the limit, says Emirati female captain

Police Capt Al Marzouqi hopes her example as a successful career woman and mother will inspire and empower younger women to come forward to fulfil their potential.

Capt. Dana al Marzouqi with the Abu Dhabi Police Department believes that every woman can achieve with a little self-belief. She hopes to inspire other women in International Women's Day. Sammy Dallal / The National
Capt. Dana al Marzouqi with the Abu Dhabi Police Department believes that every woman can achieve with a little self-belief. She hopes to inspire other women in International Women's Day. Sammy Dallal / The National

ABU DHABI // Captain Dana Al Marzouqi is proof a woman can have it all.

A head of advisory affairs for Abu Dhabi Police - after careers in local, central and federal Government - she is also a talented artist and mother of two.

Capt Al Marzouqi also travels to the UK every three weeks to study for her PhD in engaging citizen and policy. And she is just 36.

Her impressive resume is one she strongly believes every woman can achieve, with just a little self-belief.

Capt Al Marzouqi, an Emirati, spoke out as thousands of events worldwide are held to mark International Women's Day (IWD). The movement began in 1975 and has helped build support for women's rights worldwide.

For Capt Al Marzouqi, IWD is a sisterhood of success - an event that "acknowledges the long journey that all those pioneering women went though in order for us know to have all those opportunities for us to have that we have today".

And today's world offers more opportunities than ever for women, she said.

"In the UAE about 35 years ago there were no key government female figures and now four female ministers are in the government," she said. "There is such an empowering moment now in the government. In the past six years in particular I can feel it - it is inspiring.

"IWD is about that. About inspiring and providing this voice and this image for a lot of women around the world that are still held back, abused and not empowered."

The opportunities, she said, were there for the taking - as long as women are ready to grab them with both hands. Too often, she said, women were their own worst enemy by not having the self-belief to push themselves further.

"The UAE and Abu Dhabi is such a greenfield. Women can work in anything and everything," she said. "It is the self restrictions we put in place for ourselves that lead us to not being where we want.

"It is very important to decide early on and manifest your position of where you want to be. "

Capt Al Marzouqi said she has never faced discrimination and credits a strong family background - her mother was a journalist, her father in the police force - for nurturing her drive.

"The sky was the limit," she said. "I never heard the word 'no'. Not from my parents, not from my traditional grandmother and not from any workplace."

The message that women are equals is being instilled in her two teenage boys.

"If I succeed in raising them to be level-headed, women-respecting men then I think the message will continue through them."

Capt Al Marzouqi feels it is important that women such as her, in high-ranking positions, encourage younger women to come forward and fulfil their potential.

"I hope girls read this and think there is nothing I cannot do. There is nothing I cannot juggle - and all the while having fun," she said.

"Because it is about loving what you do and being passionate about it. And this message is not for a female or a male - it is the responsibility of every UAE national.

"We can not rely on others to build our future. We need to take part of it. Women and men together."

jbell@thenational.ae