Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi has made history by becoming the first woman in the Arab world to be elected as speaker of a national council. Al Qubaisi who ran unchallenged to become the Speaker of the UAE Federal National Council (FNC) in its 16th legislative chapter won the backing of her peers as they convened for thequadrennial term on Wednesday.
Eight other women sit on the 40-member council in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, giving them a relatively high representation. Dr. Al Qubaisi who is serving her third term as FNC member has a record of making history.
She was appointed the first female member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and she was also the first woman to be elected to the FNC in 2006. She was the first woman deputy speaker of the Council and was the first woman to chair one of its meetings in 2013.
"I am honoured to congratulate, on behalf of my colleagues, the leaders of the UAE on the inauguration of the 16th Legislative Chapter of the FNC," she said.
"I am honoured to be the first woman elected to be speaker of the FNC. This is a testament of the country's support of its people to achieve political ability. I would like to dedicate this nomination to Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and the women of the UAE," she said.
Women in the Arab world have come close to the highest parliamentary position, but Al Qubaisi was the first one to secure it.
In 2011, Qatari Aisha Yusuf Al Mannai made history by becoming the first Gulf woman to be elected deputy speaker of the Arab Parliament.
Aisha secured 30 of the 54 votes in the polling in Cairo, ahead of Sudanese MP Mohammad Al Hasan Al Ameen, who got 13 votes, and Iraqi MP Abed Dheyab Al Ajili, who won 11 votes.
Aisha had already made history in her country by being the first woman to be appointed Dean of the Sharia and Law Faculty in Doha. She previously served in several leading positions and held a post in the Qatari Red Crescent. She runs a religious dialogue centre.
In 2005, Bahraini Shura Council member Alice Samaan made history by becoming the first woman and the first Christian to chair a parliamentary session in the Arab world.