Sheikha Lubna Of The UAE Urges Universities to Close the Arab Gender Skills’ Gap
President of Zayed University, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, is one of the UAE’s most prominent politicians and role models. In an interview with the National, she urged schools and universities to better match their curricula to the needs and realities of the job market. The interview was to mark International Women’s Day on Thursday.
Al Qasimi said that ensuring school and university curricula equip female graduates with job-relevant skills is the most important way of boosting their participation in the workforce. Despite impressive higher education rates among women, the MENA region has lower rates of female labor force participation than the rest of the world.
According to the World Bank, women make up to 49 % of the MENA population and, in some countries, up to 63 % of university students. However, they represent only 28 % of the labor force compared to over 50 % in the US! In a different manner, the Sheikha highlighted that in the public sector, women accounted for nine out of 32 cabinet ministers; a higher proportion than in many other countries, including the United States. But, the private sector is the new challenge, where there is not enough employment of nationals.
“On this year’s Women’s Day, I want to send a congratulatory message to all the women in the UAE – not just the leaders but all the women – and say, well done. I also send gratitude to the leaders of the country for supporting them and all the chief executives who have pushed the envelope for women.” Said Sheikha Lubna.