Hoda Barakat Talks Empowerment & Emirati Women
In this exclusive interview series, AboutHer.com sat down with leading women in the UAE to learn about what drives them forward.
Hoda Barakat works in the legal field, and is a lawyer. Having been practicing law since 1991, Hoda studied and worked in the UK and has been practicing law in Dubai since September 1995. Her area of specialization is intellectual property (IP) which was little known in about in the Middle East when she had started her career. Working at a law firm in Dubai as head of their IP Department, she managed and grew the department to over 30 lawyers specializing in the same before she went on to become the Managing Partner of that firm. Since 2011, Barakat has been running her own law firm - Hoda Barakat Legal Consultancy and deals mostly with clients from the Government and private sectors. Moreover, she sits on a number of boards and committees including the Emirates Intellectual Property Association and is the current President of the UAE branch of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI-UAE). Awarded the DQG Emirates Business Women Award in 2005, Hoda also has a family and is the mother of 3 young men aged 25, 21 and 18.
Inspired by her career and commitment to her family, AboutHer.com asked her about empowerment and Emirati women.
How do you resonate with Emirati Women's Day and what does it mean to you?
It is the recognition of what Emirati Women have achieved. There are many wonderful Emirati women who fought many odds to reach great heights. On this day, they are being recognized and rewarded for that hard work and perseverance. This day also gives young Emirati women the opportunity to dream and to inspire them to achieve.
Which Emirati women have inspired you throughout your life?
Sheikha Lubna Khalid Al Qassimi was a real trailblazer in my time. She was the first female Minister and was well educated, well-spoken and a real role model for many women (Emirati and non-Emirati).
What do you think the future of Emirati women in your field of work needs to be like?
Today is very different from when I started my career. Although there are many female lawyers today who have reached senior positions, the legal profession is still male dominated. So, we need to continue to strive to increase those numbers and to ensure that women have a level playing field and to give them the resources to balance home and work life.
Why are you proud to be an Emirati woman?
Truly, what makes me proud is the direction and the messaging from our leadership. The UAE leadership has given a clear direction and strategy that women are equal and that they are able and capable of being in the highest positions. Today, we have 9 female Ministers. What an achievement!
What words of empowerment would you like to share with the next generation of Emirati women?
Women reached where they are today by believing in themselves and working hard. Ensure you have a good support network around you as that is a great help when trying to balance life and work. I am also a big believer in mentoring younger women so make time for that; it is very rewarding for both parties.