My grandmother got married at the age of 15. She didn't go to school, but was taught to read and write in a Quran school, when she was really young. She is one of the most powerful women that I know, look up to and admire.
My ancestors were people of the sea, and when my grandparents were young, men spent months out in the sea — either pearl-diving or on trips to neighbouring countries for trade. Women, in the meantime, stayed back in Abu Dhabi and took full responsibility of homes and children. The roles that men and women played back then were equally important for life to go on within the circumstances of society.
Oil discovery in the region brought with it a more luxurious lifestyle and played a role in social change, presenting more opportunities for both genders. Education became more accessible, and a necessity for men and women.
Like my mother, most of the women of her generation completed higher education. Some of them went on to work after university, while others got married and started families, becoming full-time mothers.
My mother without a doubt is my only female role model. I admire the amount of time, dedication and effort that she put into the upbringing of my siblings and me.
She played a huge role in developing independent thoughts and personality, and one day when I have children, I know that I'll pass on every good value that she has embedded in me to them.
I was born in the late eighties, and was raised by parents who always treated my brother and me with fairness and equality.
We were disciplined in the same way, taught the same values and principles of right and wrong, given the same educational opportunities and encouraged to work hard and do our best in whatever we pursued.
We chose different fields of study and were provided with equal amounts of support and encouragement all along from both of my parents.
Most of the girls from my generation go out to work, and get married relatively later than when they did two or three decades ago. After marriage, some choose to become full-time mothers while many continue working.
I don't believe any gender is superior to the other. Men and women are equal and they complement each other.
It is important to understand that by nature, genders have different ways of thinking, expression and behaviour and that has to be addressed accordingly by parents when raising their children.