STATUS OF WOMEN IN UAE
Throughout the history UAE women have been a vital part of society. The United
Arab Emirates is firmly committed to the enhancement of the status of women. As a
matter of fact, the country's constitution guarantees equal rights for both men and women.
The role of women in UAE society has gradually expanded since the discovery of
oil. Before 1960 there were few opportunities for women outside the home and family.
President Shaykh Zayid ibn Sultan Al Nuhayyan has acknowledged the validity of
women participating in the work force as well as in the home.
Women in the UAE have had the complete support and commitment of Sheikh
Zayid and the UAE Government in their quest to play a full role in the development of
the country. The belief that women are entitled to take their place in society is grounded
in the UAE constitution, which states that the principles of social justice should apply to
all. Under the constitution women enjoy the same legal status, claim to titles, access to
education, and the right to practice professions as men. The guarantees in the constitution
have been used for implementing legislation.
In general, the number of literate women in the country is greater than that of
men. The large number of educated women has had repercussions in the employment
market. The most obvious one is that more women are demanding and obtaining jobs.
The government sector absorbs many of them in education and health. However, women
are spread across the entire civil service and now account for around 40% of the total
number of employees.
In some traditional areas women employees are clearly dominant. For example,
100% of nursery school teachers, 55% of primary school teachers and 65% of
intermediate and secondary school teachers are women.
The UAE policewomen are a part of the governmental system. They perform a
variety of jobs ranging from criminal investigation to customs control. Moreover, the
women of the UAE can now be found in the armed forces as well. This breakthrough was
achieved during the Gulf War when the women of the country, in addition to men,
demanded the right to undergo basic military training in order to equip them to defend
The President's wife, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, has worked
tirelessly to promote the role of women in order to implement Sheikh Zayid's vision of a
modern society based on Arab and Islamic traditions.
The UAE Women’s Federation is an autonomous body with its own budget. It has
a number of committees to run its activities, such as religious affairs, mother and child
care, social affairs, cultural affairs, sports, heritage and the arts. Its’ priority in the early
days of the UAE was to promote education amongst women. Now that this goal has been
accomplished, the Federation focuses on comprehensive social planning, including the
role of women in the workplace.