The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a Middle Eastern federation of seven states situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The seven states, termed emirates, are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Arab_Emirates




Number of Women in United Arab Emirates Cabinet Doubled

Agence France-Presse - 18 February, 2008

The number of women in the cabinet of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates was doubled to four on Sunday, in a reshuffle in which new economy and labour ministers were named.

Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum, ruler of the affluent emirate of Dubai, brought in two women as ministers of state, the official WAM news agency reported.

They are Maitha al-Shamsi, assistant to the deputy head of UAE University for scientific research, and Reem al-Hashemi, who served as deputy ambassador to Washington and assistant to the foreign minister for economic affairs.

Sheikha Lubna al-Qassemi, a US-educated businesswoman who became the first woman to join the cabinet of the conservative Gulf state in November 2004, was moved from the economy portfolio to a newly-created external trade ministry.

The fourth woman, Mariam al-Rumi, stayed on as social affairs minister.

Qassemi was replaced as minister of economy by Sultan bin Said al-Mansuri, who was in charge of public sector development in the outgoing cabinet.

The change comes amid high levels of inflation and spiraling cost of living, with inflation officially put at 9.3 percent in 2006.

The UAE ambassador to Washington, Saqr Ghubash, was named minister of labour, succeeding Ali al-Kaabi, who was dropped from government.

Labour is a key portfolio in a country where expatriate workers and their dependents make up nearly 80 percent of the population of more than four million.

The UAE employs hundreds of thousands of mostly Asian low-paid workers whose conditions have been the focus of international rights groups.

The board chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Obaid al-Tayer, entered the cabinet as minister of state for financial affairs.

There was no change in the key ministries of energy, foreign affairs and interior. The defence portfolio has long been held by Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed, who also serves as vice president of the seven-member Gulf federation.

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