Amal Al Qubaisi, chaired parliament for the first time ever in the emirate.
The UAE monarchy's commitment to empowering women also extends to the disabled, by financing women entrepreneurs through Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS), a non-profit that was founded in 1979 and is a leading advocate for the disabled throughout the Arab world.
Recent grants made to 18 disabled women-run businesses (out of a total of 30 candidates) include a Braille publisher, a copy shop, and a nursery school for disabled children. While no official statistics are available, disability rate in the UAE is thought to be equal to the worldwide UN-calculated average of 8-10%.
Within the UAE, more disabled women than men are likely to receive public assistance (5.74% against 2.49%). Social stigma against disability is very high throughout the Arab world, where families sometimes segregate disabled relatives out of shame, or for their protection. According to the latest study by the UAE social affairs ministry, 74% of disabled women can't find work, 64% can't find a husband, and 80% experience negative attitudes from others. (ANSAmed).