By our correspondent
ABU DHABI: Etihad Aviation Group (EAG)is celebrating the third annual Emirati Women’s Day with a series of events to highlight this year’s theme, Women are partners in giving, in line with the UAE’s 2017 Year of Giving initiative.
Women comprise 36 per cent of EAG’s nearly 26,000-strong workforce, working alongside men in what are traditionally regarded as male professions such as engineering, the flight deck and cargo. Emirati women are also well represented in these functions, with several of them sharing their experiences at panel discussions held at the Etihad Airways Headquarters today.
Technical Engineer Mariam Al Obaidli’s talent and passion were identified by the company four years ago when she was offered the opportunity to join the Etihad Airways Technical Engineer Programme, as part of the airline’s investment in the development of UAE national capabilities.
Today, she is one of 42 Emirati women completing their two-year, on-the-job training in order to obtain their GCAA Aircraft Engineering Licenses.
Nowadays Mariam wakes up at 4am to be at Etihad Airways Engineering for the daily meeting at 5.30 am and she couldn’t be happier. “You should see the engineers’ expressions when they see local women working hard in such extreme conditions, and knowing that we want to be here – they’re amazed by it,” she recounted for the audience.
Mariam was joined on the panel by an Etihad lawyer, pilot, and airport manager, who shared their own experiences of partnership with the audience.
Amina Taher, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Our constitution declares that men and women are equal in their rights and obligations. It provides equal access to education, healthcare and jobs. Her Highness, the mother of our nation, is the champion of our success, securing our indispensable role as an active driving force in the nation’s sustainable development.
“As a company, we foster the talents of our women and men; we encourage them to work together to promote innovation, to mentor their junior colleagues, to volunteer in the community and to give to charity. In a corporate environment, it is also important we stand together to develop not just our company, but the UAE and our society.”
Guest speaker Dr. Khawla al-Saadi, Chairwoman of the Emirates Autism Society, will address staff at a special workshop on 29 August. This workshop will explore the notion of giving through showcasing successful female leaders and managers, both within the company and outside, who, despite the challenges of balancing career and family, also devote time to mentoring young women as they embark on their careers.
Speaking about Emirati Women’s Day,Dr. Khawla al-Saadi said: “The women of our beloved country have delivered remarkable successes under the leadership and support of Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the UAE General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, for women’s issues and aspirations.
“‘Women are Partners in Giving’ is not just a slogan. It conforms with our capacity to implement the directives of our leadership in the past and today. Our role is not only to take part in building our nation, but to play a vital role in its evolution too. We will always promote giving around the nation and abroad, and to reach out to people who need help wherever they are.”
Etihad Aviation Group employs 2,859 Emiratis – 1,462 women and 1,394 men – in the UAE and around the world.