Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 4 June 2020

'I want to leave a mark in history': female candidates set for FNC elections

Women members will make up 50 per cent of the Federal National Council after the October 5 elections
Female candidates are eager to represent their communities on the Federal National Council. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

Trailblazing female Federal National Council candidates vowed to be the “voice of the people” as the nation prepares to go to the polls next month.

Almost 200 women in the Emirates will be vying for votes in the October 5 election.

A directive by President Sheikh Khalifa to ensure 50 per cent of the consultative body is female led to a sig­nificant increase in applications from women.

More than 20 candidates took part in a workshop organised by the General Women’s Union on Tuesday to prime them for the challenges lying in wait on the campaign trail.

The election hopefuls are proud to be part of a crucial moment for female empowerment in the country.

Safeya Al Kaabi, 40, who is standing in Abu Dhabi, is eager to tackle issues of importance for her community.

“I am not an aristocrat or come from the upper classes,” she told The National. “I am a regular person, I bring forward the voice of people, and this is what we need. There are topics that need to be discussed at the council.”

She is not afraid to broach subjects that may split opinion.

“I want to discuss the personal status law. Divorce rates are very high because of the rights the law gives women today, from a car to a high monthly allowance. The law should be fair for women and men but right now it supports women more than it does the man,” the mother of eight said.

“I have a child in every year group. Some are in university and some are still too young for school so I am well aware of the struggles of every segment of society.”

She also wants to propose plans to elevate the education sector and is focused on encouraging Emiratis to help teach the next generation of UAE citizens.

“Most Emiratis have their children in private schools that charge fees that exceed Dh100,000. Why don’t we promote our government schools and Emirati teachers?

"We spend a lot on recruiting expatriate teachers so why not use this money to train and equip Emirati teachers. There are gaps in our education system.”

Moza Al Kaabi has plenty of life experience to guide her decisions.

Safeya Al Kaabi is eager to make a difference by winning a seat on the Federal National Council. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

A mother of five and grandmother at 43, she married at 16, was sadly widowed 10 months ago and works as a life coach.

She said running for council was far from a spur of the moment decision for her.

"I didn’t suddenly decide to run. This is something I have always wanted," said Ms Al Kaabi, also seeking to represent Abu Dhabi.

"My vision was to be a pioneer and to make an impact and running for parliament will help me leave a mark in our history.

“I will talk about youth issues. Many of our children today don’t know how to develop sustainable and loving relationships. Many of the marriages today last a year. We have high divorce rates and many cases in the courts.

She is eager to support teachers, both when in the classroom and to help them make the transition to life after work when they retire.

"I will have a meeting with all the teachers so they can tell me what their problems are. I am the voice of the people and my responsibility is to pass on their concerns and help resolve their problems.”

Updated: September 18, 2019 08:59 AM