x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Women's rights form the cornerstone of Abu Dhabi campaigns

Abu Dhabi candidates stress the role of women in society.

Mansour Al Faheem is running in the FNC elections. Education, health and women's rights are the main issues on his agenda. Sammy Dallal / The National
Mansour Al Faheem is running in the FNC elections. Education, health and women's rights are the main issues on his agenda. Sammy Dallal / The National

ABU DHABI // Early yesterday morning, Mansour Al Faheem was in his majlis ready to start his campaign.

A senior development manager at Mubadala, Mr Al Faheem, 32, plans on developing a detailed vision, which will outline major issues in the country and offer solutions.

His campaign, he said "most importantly does not neglect women".

"Women are the majority in society here, we need to ensure equal rights for them," he said.

The education system also needs to be improved and graduates should meet market needs to reduce unemployment numbers, he added.

"A quick fix would be to employ 5 per cent locals in every company," Mr Al Faheem said. "But that does not fix the problem. Nationals need proper training and development to have what the workplace needs."

Mr Al Faheem is also concerned about problems in the health sector.

"Where there are medical errors, patients need to be compensated.

"Many travel abroad for surgeries. We have the facilities, but not enough specialised physicians. There needs to be proper screening."

Homes for newlyweds, a programme to clear the debts of nationals and social security for widows, the elderly and orphans are also among his solutions for what he sees as common problems in Emirati society.

"Nationals burden themselves with huge loans, especially housing debt," he said. "A solution would be instead of giving newlyweds Dh70,000, give them a key to a house. It would help secure their lifestyle."

Moza Al Otaiba, a member of the board of trustees of the Family Development Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen's Council, held a news conference yesterday at her father's majlis to discuss the issues she will focus on.

"The first conference being from home was very important as participation starts from the home," she said. "Especially for women - participation starts from the home."

Although she wishes to empower working women, Ms Al Otaiba said family values are key to her campaign.

"We have seen, especially in Arab parliament, women representing women," she said. "But I will represent all sectors. This comes from my family values."

She emphasised, however, that women need more rights to help maximise their role at home and at work.

"They should not need to compromise one for the other," she said.

Although only one woman was elected in the last election in 2006, she said she was hopeful that more would be elected this year.

Rashid Al Marar, a former foreign ministry official, is the only former FNC member to run again this year.

He placed a newspaper advertisement that said he would focus on gaining a more authoritative role for the FNC. He also intends to ensure that women are empowered to participate in society.

There are 117 candidates, 22 of them women, standing for office in the emirate.