More women in UAE’s sweeping cabinet reshuffle

From left, Ohood Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, Najla Mohammed Al Awar, Minister of Community Development, Jamila Salim Al Muhairi and Minister of State for Education. (Photo courtesy: Dubai Media Office)

Women now make up around one third of the UAE’s federal cabinet positions after the country unveiled sweeping new changes on Wednesday.

Under the changes, women have been appointed to head up several posts, including the newly-created ministries of Happiness and Tolerance. Women have been appointed to head up both posts.

Women now make up eight of the 29 members of the federal cabinet.

The new government has fewer ministries, but more ministers handling national, strategic and dynamic portfolios.

The changes were announced by UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai.

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE’s president, approved the changes.

The changes also include the formation of the Council of Youth, which will be chaired by a woman no more than 22 years of age. The council will have a group of young men and women serving in advisory positions.

‘Big motivation’

Several ministries have been renamed and given new tasks. These include the ministry of foreign affairs which has merged with the ministry of international cooperation and development.

The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs has been retitled to the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future, with a stated aim of preparing for the UAE’s “post-oil future.”

On Monday, Sheikh Mohammad announced on Twitter that the UAE would outsource most government tasks to the private sector and cut the number of ministries.

“We will have a road map to outsource most government services to the private sector ... The new government will have a smaller number of ministries and more ministers to deal with national and strategic issues,” the prime minister said.

Saeed al-Remeithi, a member of the Federal National Council, a partially-elected body that advises the government, said that the changes would help youth get more involved in the country’s future.

“This is a big motivation for the youth to engage in the politics, to have a role in the government and the cabinet, to have an international presence,” he told Abu Dhabi-based daily The National.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
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