Celebrating Emirati Women in Science and Technology
Every year on August 28th, the UAE celebrates Emirati women’s pivotal role and outstanding contribution to building the nation. This year’s celebration is centered around collaborations for future developments. In this blog post, we will explore some Emirati women whose collaborations have immensely impacted the country’s futuristic innovations.
Her Excellency, Sarah Al Amiri
At 36 years old, HE Sarah Al Amiri has achieved remarkable feats to get to her current positions as the Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Scientists, as well as the chair of the UAE Space Agency and the UAE Council of Scientists. As a Minister, HE spearheads research and development in the advanced science and technology sector, preparing the UAE for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. She is also guiding the UAE towards diversifying its economy into a knowledge-based economy with thriving local industries.
The UAE has recently increased its efforts towards space exploration, and HE Sarah Al Amiri has been at the helm of this expedition. Notably, HE was at the forefront of the UAE’s first trip to Mars, the Hope Probe. Her influence and work have been recognized internationally, earning her a spot amongst the world’s scientists and a role model in science, technology, and engineering. HE holds a Master’s in Computer Engineering from the American University of Sharjah.
Salma Al Hajeri
Born and raised in the small town of Sweihan, 70 km northwest of Abu Dhabi, Salma Al Hajeri is a woman of many firsts. She was the first girl from her hometown to join the university and acquire a driving license. Furthermore, she was the first woman reservoir engineer at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), having graduated with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the UAE University in Al Ain. She was also among the first women to train at the Abu Dhabi’s Petroleum Institute, graduating with a master’s degree in engineering.
Today, Salma Al Hajeri is the Regional Vice-President of Mubadala Energy, where she oversees the acquisition and growth of the region’s most significant oil and gas projects. Her research work in the oil and gas industry continues to inform critical decisions in the sector. At the same time, her sterling career path inspires girls and women in her generation to pursue studies and careers in male-dominated science and technology fields.
Nora Al Matrooshi
Only 65 women worldwide have journeyed into space and back to Earth. Nora Al Matrooshi is one of the few. In 2021, she made history as the first female Emirati and Arab astronaut to reach space.
She also beat 4,000 candidates to access training for future space exploration missions at NASA in the US. Ms. Al Matrooshi has steered several projects at the National Petroleum Construction Company, where she was also the Vice President of the Youth Council for three consecutive years.
Additionally, she has represented the UAE in several international events, including the 2011 International Mathematical Olympics and the 2013 UAE Youth Ambassadors Programme in South Korea. As an American Society of Mechanical Engineers member, Nora Al Amatrooshi inspires girls locally and worldwide to take up space in male-dominated fields. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the UAE University.
Alia Al Mansoori
Alia Al Mansoori was just 15 when she won the Genes in Space Award and traveled to Florida to launch her biological experiment into space. She was the youngest person and only Emirati to achieve this feat. This marked the official launch of her astronaut career ambitions.
Alia’s experiment on the effect of space on genetic material was conducted by one of her favorite female astronauts, Peggy Wilson. She also met with several admirable astronauts and career men and women who have been in the space industry for many years. Shortly after that, she became the youngest person ever to be appointed Scientific Research Fellow at New York University Abu Dhabi, where she studied biology under the supervision of Dr. Mohamed Al Sayegh.
These experiences inspired Alia to establish the Emirati Astronaut platform that facilitates conversations and relationships between aspiring and experienced astronauts and people working in space. Alia is currently studying at the University of Edinburgh.
While this is not an exhaustive list, we acknowledge and celebrate the women above and all the Emirati women who have achieved remarkable feats in their careers. They are proof of the UAE’s quest to bridge the gender gap and empower women to join their male counterparts in changing the world through science and technology.
Happy Emirati Women’s Day!