Articale By: Jihan Arfoui
The issue of women's participation in public life and decision-making is still a controversial topic that has not been settled in many societies, even the most progressive and liberal ones.
Hence, civil society organizations and women's groups are still engaged in their confrontations and debates with decision-makers to reach legislative solutions and electoral systems that enable women to reach decision-making positions equally with their male partners.
What about the United Arab Emirates?
The UAE is the first in the Arab world and the fourth in the world in the proportion of women's representation in parliament, where women in the Federal National Council represent 50% of the total members. This was the result of the legislation approving the principle of equality.
In 2019, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, may God have mercy on him, issued Resolution No. 1 of 2019 to raise the percentage of women's representation in the Federal National Council to 50%. This Decision entered into force in conjunction with the previous legislative chapter.
The Decision included amendments to some provisions of Federal Supreme Council Resolution No. 04 of 2006 Concerning the Method for Selecting Representatives of the Emirates in the Federal National Council.
The decision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, included 3 main articles, the first of which stipulates that the percentage of women representation for each emirate in the Federal National Council shall not be less than “50%” of the number of representatives of the Emirate. The Decision of the president based on the Resolution of the Federal Supreme Council stipulated the permissibility of adopting the percentage of women’s representation in the Federal National Council regulation, according to the following clauses:
Clause 1: The Ruler of Each emirate may determine the number of seats that women will win when electing representatives of the Emirate in the Council.
Clause 2: This number must not exceed “half” of the number required to be elected in the Emirate.
Clause 3: The number of seats allocated to women in the elections shall be announced by the Ruler’s Court before opening the door for candidacy, provided that this number does not exceed “half” of the number required to be elected in the emirate.
Clause 4: Women who obtain the highest votes among all female candidates shall win the seats specified for women, unless the results of the elections result in women winning, directly, in the seats specified for women.
Clause 5: The Ruler of the Emirate completes the percentage specified for women when appointing the other “half” of the number of representatives of his emirate in the Federal National Council.
Among the women represented in the current Federal Council is Ms. Afraa Bakhit Saif bin Hindi Al Alili from the Emirate of Ajman, Mrs. Maryam Majid Khalfan Majid bin Thaniah from the Emirate of Dubai, Naameh Abdul Rahman Muhammad Al Mansoori from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Kifah Muhammad Nasser Al Shahsi Al Zaabi for the Emirate of Sharjah and Azraa Hassan Humaid bin Rakad Al Ali from Umm Al Qaiwain Emirate.