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Last modified on 3rd October 2023. Dubai Real Estate Blog
By Ward Mohammad
Moving to a new city can be an intimidating yet rewarding experience, especially for women. Despite the progress we have made, it is still common for women to be faced with challenges and issues related to safety and equality. Dubai, in the UAE, is a vibrant and rapidly advancing city that has made efforts to accommodate its diverse population of people from different countries. Unfortunately, there are still myths and misconceptions about what it is like for women to live in Dubai, making it hard for them to envision their lives there. This blog seeks to clarify and address those issues to provide an accurate, realistic view of what life in Dubai is like for women.
Living in Dubai has been a hugely empowering experience for women over the years. The city is home to countless inspiring female figures such as Reem Bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation; Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance; and the remarkable businesswoman Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg. These women are at the forefront of powerful positions and successful businesses in the city.
In the United Arab Emirates, women are making great strides in the fields of science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. As a result of their success, many women are in high-ranking roles in both the private and public sectors. To further support equal education opportunities, the Gender Balance Council initiated various educational initiatives, including free access to higher education in public universities.
In 2004, the government signed the UN Convention, which had the goal of eliminating any form of gender discrimination. The UAE has since held many international women-focused conferences, and launched numerous programs that promote women's empowerment through education. As a result of these efforts, women have achieved great success in higher education in the country.
In Dubai, while it is generally more accepting than other parts of the region, there are still certain laws that must be respected. Being naked in public is not allowed. However, wearing swimsuits and bikinis on the beaches and in swimming pools is tolerated; it is not suitable to do so elsewhere.
While it is not mandatory for women in Dubai to be covered head-to-toe, modest dressing is encouraged. When in public places like malls, it is best to avoid hemlines that are too high. However, when visiting hotels or clubs, you can usually wear whatever you desire.
In Dubai, workplace harassment is virtually non-existent due to the numerous support structures in place for victims. National laws strictly forbid any form of discrimination based on gender, race, or faith, and any such behavior is thoroughly investigated and punished accordingly.
According to a 2021 Georgetown University study, the UAE has the highest percentage of women feeling safe in their communities of any country in the world - an impressive 98.5 percent. This result demonstrates that women in Dubai are largely safe and secure.
Living in Dubai is renowned for its safety, especially when compared to London, where crime rates are much higher. You can walk alone without worrying about looking over your shoulder or feeling unsafe. However, it is important to remain vigilant in certain situations. Generally speaking, most places are incredibly safe, and we have yet to have frightening experiences.
Women in this area have the opportunity to work in a variety of industries and at all levels of the job hierarchy. We encountered many women in high-level positions much earlier in their careers than is typical in the UK, demonstrating the excellent opportunities that are available for women to advance their careers.
In the United Kingdom, it is not permissible to specify gender when advertising job vacancies, yet some job postings still include such details in Dubai.
The UAE has made gender equality a major priority, taking many steps to improve the lives of women. The Dubai Women Establishment provides a comprehensive support program for working women, working with governmental organizations to promote the passage of legislation that grants women greater rights. In large companies and government agencies, it is now a requirement for women to be part of the board of directors.
The UAE is looking to become one of the top 25 countries in the world for gender equality, and as a result, the UAE Gender Balance Council was formed to ensure that Emirati women have a prominent role in the country's advancement. Nine female ministers currently make up 27.3% of ministerial roles, which is one of the highest percentages in the region, and women are responsible for 66% of public sector jobs and 30% of senior leadership positions.
The education system of the UAE is highly favorable for women. Statistics show women’s literacy rate is 95.8%, which is one of the highest in the Middle East. Additionally, the UAE provides equal opportunities to both genders, with public schools being free for all students. Moreover, the UAE is home to some of the top 500 universities in the world. The education system is built on four main pillars: civic studies, character and morality, individual and community, and cultural studies.
Furthermore, the government has used education as a tool for women's empowerment, with girls’ enrolment rate being 15% higher than boys’. This is further evidenced by the MDG, which outlines the focus on girls’ education in the UAE.
Women can enjoy exclusive days and nights at a range of venues, including amusement parks, cinemas, and more. At restaurants and clubs throughout the week, Ladies' Days and Ladies' Nights offer women special discounts and treats, such as free drinks. Although men are welcome to attend, they are unable to take advantage of the same offers as women.
Women of all ages and backgrounds are welcomed into female-only WhatsApp and Facebook groups. These online communities provide a platform to connect with like-minded individuals, plan meetups, and exchange advice. Through these groups, women found a wealth of knowledge and a supportive network. They are even able to ask questions about living in a new place and get helpful answers.
Women and children have access to exclusive parks dedicated to their well-being. These parks are often off-limits to men during certain hours and days of the week, with an all-female team of staff. Although the concept of ‘Pink Priority’ areas and events has been met with some criticism, it is designed to provide an atmosphere of safety and comfort for women, particularly those from religious or conservative backgrounds.
Moreover, Dubai has a variety of salons catering to different needs. Women who prefer to not have men in the salon can find a ladies-only salon to go to. For those who don't mind, there are plenty of mixed salons available as well. When it comes to spas, pools, and saunas, the majority of saunas are single-gender, while pools and spas tend to be mixed.
A recent report by Cigna Insurance Middle East (CIME) revealed that UAE women are among the healthiest and fittest in the world. The physical index score of the country was recorded as 65.4, higher than the global average of 60. It was also noted that the physical well-being of women in the Emirates has improved in comparison to 2018, with the score increasing from 59.2 to 63.2. This surpasses the global women's well-being index, which has dropped to 58.2, and the men's well-being index, which stands at 61.7.
For healthcare access, there are a number of hospitals and clinics in Dubai that provide comprehensive services for women. These facilities offer a range of medical treatments and screenings, including gynecological care and obstetrics. In addition, there are a number of specialized clinics for women's health, such as fertility clinics and breast cancer clinics.
In terms of fitness, there are several gyms and fitness centers in Dubai that offer a wide range of exercise classes and programs for women. These facilities provide the opportunity for women to stay physically active and maintain their health. Additionally, there are a number of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed, such as running and cycling.
In terms of mental health and well-being, there are a number of centers in Dubai that offer counseling and therapy services for women. These services can help women cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Furthermore, there are a number of support groups and workshops available in Dubai for women to access support and advice.
In the UAE, women are not only allowed but also encouraged to own property independently. Estimates suggest that an impressive 30% of all property is owned by women, many of whom live autonomously without any issues of safety or security. This is becoming increasingly common and accepted.
Data from the Dubai Land Department (DLD) has revealed that female investment in UAE's real estate has provided over AED58.8 billion ($16 billion) to the market. Last year, this figure jumped by 51% compared to 2021, demonstrating the increasing financial autonomy of women. Looking ahead, this trend is expected to continue to rise throughout this year, with estimates anticipating a YoY growth of over 50% by the end of 2023.
Female investors are making conscious decisions when it comes to investing in different areas, which are based on their fiscal targets and views on society. Real estate remains a major part of their investment portfolio, being responsible for 40% of their investments.
In Dubai, there are various areas in public spaces and on public transport that are exclusively for women. Such places include the metro, tram, buses, and the iconic Pink Taxis which are driven by female drivers and are intended for women passengers.
Women have played a pivotal role in propelling the UAE to the forefront of space exploration, becoming the first Arab nation to gain an in-depth understanding of the Martian atmosphere. Moreover, their groundbreaking research into the development of COVID-19 treatments has helped save innumerable lives and hastened the world's recovery from the pandemic. Additionally, they have been instrumental in engineering solutions to the world's most pressing energy crisis, as we strive to tackle the consequences of climate change.
The UAE is often portrayed in a sensational way in the Western media. It is unsurprising that people have such varied opinions about life in the country, considering the source of their information. However, Dubai is a welcoming place where one can feel empowered and safe. Women in particular can thrive here, feeling secure and free to pursue their dreams and ambitions.
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