British Embassy encourages women to reach for the top

To mark International Women’s Day, the British Embassy in UAE ran an online competition to select a young woman resident in the UAE to spend the day shadowing the British Ambassador in Abu Dhabi. Kianna MacDonald, a 16 year-old Canadian expatriate living in Dubai, won , with a video setting out what one thing she would change in the world. Kianna called for a closing of the gap between genders in society. "I really feel like if we could achieve gender equality in our world, that it would allow for more opportunities for both men and women."

Kianna’s day included shadowing the Ambassador during his introductory meetings with new staff and his weekly briefing with the Embassy’s consular team; she also joined a roundtable with British female diplomats chaired by the Deputy Ambassador to the UAE, Stephanie Al-Qaq to discuss on women in leadership and share their experiences of working overseas.

Another part of the International Women’s Day celebration at the Embassy, which Kianna was able to join, was a "mirror challenge" for its staff. This involved the ceremonial unveiling of a mirror on a wall in the building showing all of the former British ambassadors to the UAE – a position which has so far never been filled by a woman. The concept is to encourage the Embassy’s female staff members to look into the mirror and see themselves in the most senior positions.

Speaking after the unveiling of the "mirror challenge", British Ambassador to the UAE, Patrick Moody,said: "The idea behind today’s events was to encourage greater female empowerment by encouraging women to see themselves in some of the most senior positions. I am confident it will not be long before we have our first female British Ambassador to the UAE, and this future successor of mine can join the growing number of successful female role models in the UAE. I am grateful to Kianna for entering our competition and joining us today. It was inspiring to meet her, and I am sure she will be a great role model for the women of her generation."

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