Time.news – They are cultured, determined, successful, in balance between tradition and modernity. What unites them is the desire to break down commonplaces and present an alternative image to certain stereotypes on the condition of women in Arab countries.
The Italian Benedetta Paravia brought the theme of gender equality and female empowerment to the television screens of the Arab Emirates. With almost 1 million viewers per episode on Dubai One TV, one of the most popular television channels in the country, has captured the attention of the public with the cross-media series Hi Emi-rates, composed, to be precise, from the first HI DUBAI starts and from the second HI EMIRATES (now also visible on Emirates Airlines flights).
Filmed starting in 2018, the series features a roundup of modern and emancipated Arab women who have ignited the public debate about their role in society. The United Arab Emirates is a young country, which this year celebrates, in addition to Expo 2020 Dubai, also the Golden Jubilee, the first fifty years since its foundation.
A short period of time, in which, however, thanks to the large economic resources produced by the extraction of hydrocarbons, the lifestyle and customs of the federation of monarchies have experienced a very fast, exponential modernization, dealing with an increasingly dynamic and multicultural social context , which today has up to nearly 200 different nationalities.
The opportunity to meet some of the protagonists of the project was the presentation of the book bearing the title of the evening, Hi Dubai & Hi Emirates by Benedetta Paravia (Graus Edizioni), with the testimonies of the Italian Ambassador Nicola Lener and the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute of Abu Dhabi Ida Zilio Grandi.
The photo book tells the backstage, the story, the passions of the women who appeared on the set and who found a realization in a different way through life and work paths. There is also a strong desire to present an alternative image to the stereotype of a submissive Arab woman limited in her freedoms to the eyes of the Western world.
“I arrived in the Arab Emirates at the end of my law studies, where I had to stay for a short ‘sabbatical’ period but I took root” says Bene-said Paravia. Salernitana of origin, histrionic, has a stage name (Princess Bee), is among the most famous Italians in the Emirates, certainly among the very few allowed in the salons (or better majilis) of local nobles.
“I have always hated prejudices and I must say that our project immediately found a lot of support. The team that created and produced the television series is all Italian while my protagonists are all Emirati. They are members of Parliament, members of joint-stock companies, mana-gers, athletes. But there are also small entrepreneurs or students, who know from their early youth and the first years of school that they will contribute to the improvement of society. This is a pioneering country in the Arab world with respect to women’s themes and Expo 2020 Dubai will also make a great contribution to these themes. “
“I immediately accepted to be part of the project – said Sharifa Yateem, president of the homonymous center specializing in the support of autistic children, and who is keen to specify that she is the first woman in the country to have obtained certification in this area – I think that this television series emphasizes the importance of strengthening the role of women, of uniting and inspiring others to be able to do what they dream of. ”
Dr. Khawla AlRomaithi is a manager in the IT sector. She says she is very busy with her family, at work and travels a lot. She considers herself a modern woman but also respectful of traditions. “Arab women are the pillar of the family and society, at the behest of the founding fathers of the nation. Among us there are women ministers, astronauts, engineers and we will expand more and more the sectors in which we will be present. Expo 2020 Dubai will bring here women arriving from over 190 countries, it will be of great help in the debate not only in the Region. “