Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) and President of Arabia CSR Network, looks back at her journey which began 25 years ago .
She recalls stepping into a male dominated territory that questioned her decision to stride away from a stable and safe career option to set up an NGO at a time when civil society activism was an unfamiliar territory in the UAE. Today, her organizations and success reflect her persistence and undying spirit to uphold the values of the UAE, respect natural resources and promote environmental awareness in order to ensure a sustainable conscious generation ahead.
“An Emirati woman to me is a symbol of ambition. Being an Emirati woman means leading my country to even greater feats of achievement by contributing to the nation building, economic growth and social progress. “The UAE Constitution states that women enjoy the same legal status, claim to titles, access to education and right to practice professions. Mrs Marashi shares how the UAE government has always held women’s interests in high priority. “We have been provided with a safe, secure and supportive ecosystem. My role model is Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Mother of the Nation.”
The UAE’s inspiring women: ‘Emaratiyah’ is a book launched on the occasion of Emirati Women’s Day 2016, organized by Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, under the patronage of Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation. The book identifies Mrs Habiba Al Marashi as one who has been directing firms in the region on their corporate social responsibility approach long before organizations formally establish ‘CSR’ divisions. The British environmental campaigner David Bellamy described her as a female version of himself, in lieu of her passion in protecting the environment and promoting responsible behavior amongst all stakeholders.
Having set up the first environmental NGO in the world to be ISO 14001certified, Habiba Al Marashi recalls her childhood on Emirati Womens Day. “My late father instilled in us the concept that we are custodians of the planet; as I grew up it became more and more entrenched in me. Today I am committed to making sustainable development a common pledge among all sectors of society.”