It was her great-grandfather, Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father and champion of women’s rights, throughout his 30 year reign, that inspired the ambitious Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan to develop a new initiative that looks to encourage and promote gender equality in the workplace. By 2020, she is hoping to achieve her goal which includes getting 20 women on 20 UAE company executive boards.
Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan was a visionary who wanted to see "women assume their rightful role in society and fulfill their potential," and with that in mind, the Sheikha told The National, that she sees "the value that women bring to the workplace but also the unique challenges they face because of their gender. I hope to see a future that is gender-balanced and where initiatives like my own will no longer be necessary, simply because it will be the norm.”
This summer, an initiative by Sheikha Shamma, the Women’s Empowerment & Equality Board (WEEB), held an important event in Abu Dhabi, which also held panels and workshops on women’s leadership, and her “20 for 2020” plan is a vital goal to be able to achieve all of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which also include women's empowerment and gender equality.
Sheikha Shamma is also the CEO of Alliances for Global Sustainability and the founder of the non-governmental, Abu Dhabi based, organization, Circle of Hope. The NGO has 3 initiatives under it’s umbrella: WEEB, Beacon of Hope - which is a project that looks to create a friendly and inspiring environments inside hospitals in the UAE, and Wanna Read? Which has the aim to introduce literacy to underprivileged children around the world.