These women have achieved incredible things

Launched in 2016 by HH Shaika Fatima bint Mubarak, Emirati Women’s Day celebrates the achievements and contributions of women in the UAE. While we try to do that everyday here at Emirates Woman, what better way than for us on this official day to pay tribute to some of those trailblazing women.

From climbing the world’s tallest mountain to trekking the North Pole, these women have achieved incredible things. Prepare to be inspired below by some of our favourite Emirati women of the past and present…

10 Emirati Women shaping the future of the UAE
Barbie’s first hijabi doll has just hit the shelves

August 2002

Hafsa Al Ulama became the first Emirati woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. She faced fierce winds, storms and temperatures dropping to as low as -20C. Of the experience, she said “it was an arduous climb and the conditions were extremely harsh. We faced unbearably cold weather. But we made it in the end.”

March 2009

At just 24, Salma Al Baloushi maked history as the first Emirati woman to fly a single plane solo. This achievement earned her a place in the book The 100 Greatest Women in Aviation. At the time, Etihad Airline’s first female pilot said: “I can only hope my accomplishment encourages many of my Emirati sisters to push the boundaries and reach their goals.” No wonder she’s often referred to as the Arab answer to Amelia Earhart!

April 2010

Mother of three Elham Al Qasim made history when she became the first Emirati and Arab woman to reach the North Pole. Facing temperatures as low as -30C and covering 128km, she said of the experience: “It taught me countless lessons. Perhaps the most powerful was an understanding that nothing is impossible.”

January 2012

At just 24, Mariam Al Safar becomes the first Emirati woman to drive a train in the Middle East. “I could never believe that we’d be able to see trains in Dubai,” she said at the time. “As a child, I was fascinated with toy trains.”

December 2013

A new law states that working women in the UAE are entitled to the same wages  as men. According to Article 32, “a working woman shall be entitled to the same wage as that of a working man, if she does the same work.”

June 2014

Captain Mariam Hassan Salem Al Mansouri became the first Emirati female pilot to serve in the UAE Air Force. She received the prestigious Mohammad Bin Rashid Excellence Award in 2014 that same year. Al Mansouri then went on to win the ‘Asia Game Changer Award’ at the Asia Society’s annual awards at the UN HQ in New York.

August 2016

Emirati swimmer Nada Al Badwawi flew the UAE flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games at Rio De Janeiro . At the time, Al Badwawi said: “Competing against the world’s best swimmers in the Olympics is special and Rio will give me a strong boost to do my best in the upcoming competition.

October 2016

Fatima Al Qubaisi became the first Emirati woman to be accepted at Harvard Law School. “I had my own doubts and thought they wouldn’t accept me but it was worth all the time and effort,” she said at the time. Graduating in July 2017, she said: “It’s been a tremendous experience to be part of the School’s graduating class during its 200th year, and I will be returning to the UAE with a vision and a set of ideas for a brighter UAE.”


October 2017

Emirates Woman marked its 35th birthday. Launching in 1981, we became the first glossy magazine in the region for stylish and sophisticated women (that’s you!). Here’s how we’ve changed throughout the years.

February 2018

Sharjah Civil Defence appoints the first 15 female firefighters to the region’s first Women’s Firefighting Unit. Following the landmark move, women of the UAE were encouraged to fill more firefighter roles.



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