x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Women rise above

Engineering colleges and higher technical schools are no longer male preserves.

Engineering colleges and higher technical schools are no longer male preserves. Across the UAE and around the world, women have been taking up careers in the traditional preserves of men.

But even by the rapid standards of gender-equality progress, Strata Manufacturing's school for aircraft technicians is an eye-opener: of the 62 latest graduates, 60 are women.

Across the board, Emirati women complete more schooling, on average, than their brothers. And high-flying official plans to make the UAE a hub for aircraft maintenance, and even manufacturing, mean that there should be plenty of well-paid and satisfying work in the field. But it is striking that so many more women than men have figured this out.

One reason may be that the empowerment of women in the workforce has been, no less than diversification of the economy, a high national priority. In recognition of that, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE's first female cabinet minister, has just been named to a US government-led global panel to promote the role of women in the world economy.

The appointment is welcome recognition of successful national policy.