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United Arab Emirates Table of Contents

United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates -- Status of Women


Student nurses at Abu Dhabi nursing school; the United Arab Emirates has stressed academic and professional education.
Courtesy Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, Washington

The role of women in UAE society has gradually expanded since the discovery of oil. Before 1960 there were few opportunities for them outside the realm of home and family. The president, Shaykh Zayid ibn Sultan Al Nuhayyan, has acknowledged the validity of women participating in the work force as well as in the home. The president's wife, Shaykha Fatima, heads the Women's Federation and promotes training, education, and the advancement of the status of women. In the early 1990s, there were five women's societies promoting various issues of importance to women, including literacy and health.

Women constituted 6.2 percent of the work force in 1988. A study by the Administrative Development Institute found that a majority of female workers who are UAE citizens work under the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health. In 1988 they accounted for 82 percent of UAE national employees in these ministries. Since the late 1980s, women graduates have outnumbered men by a ratio of two to one at United Arab Emirates University.

Data as of January 1993