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United Arab Emirates

Population size and demographic: 10.19 million. 31.06% of the population is female and 68.94% is male.

Women at Work:

The female labour force participation in the UAE was 52% for women and 94.1% for men in 2020. In the same year, the unemployment rate for women in the labour force was 5.94%. Of all employed women, 4.1% were working part-time jobs in 2020 (1). Only 9% of all businesses were owned by women in 2018, while 91% were owned by men (2). Women make up 37.5% of all employees in the Banking sector and 66% of all employees in the Government sector, holding 30% of all leadership positions in said sector (3).

Women’s Participation in Parliament:

When it comes to political empowerment, the UAE ranks 75 out of 153 countries in the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report (1). Women gained the right to vote in the UAE in 2006 (1). In the United Arab Emirates, 50% of all MPs are women, which means out of 40 MPs, 20 are women. The youngest member of parliament is a 28 year old woman, Hend AlAleeli (4). Out of all ministerial positions, 29% are held by women 71% are held by men (1).

Violence against Women:

There is little data when it comes to gender-based violence in the UAE. The minimum legal age of marriage is 18 for both genders, but according to 2005 data, 6.8% of girls aged 15 to 19 were married, divorced or widowed. Rape is criminalized and punishable by several years up to life, but there is no law regarding marital rape. In 2012, 3 of the emirates had domestic abuse centres. Female genital mutilation is legal in the UAE, although illegal to perform in state hospitals or clinics. A study in 2011 showed that, out of 200 participants, 34% had gone through some form of FGM (5).


When it comes to health in the U.A.E, women’s healthy life expectancy is 68.3 years. Maternal mortality is really low, with 3 deaths per 100,000 live births and 99.9% of births are attended by skilled personnel (1). The adolescent fertility rate stands at 5 per every 1000 girls aged 15 to 19 years in 2020 (2). The United Arab Emirates ranks 94 in terms of health and survival in the Global Gender Gap Report of 2020 (1).


The UAE ranks 89 when it comes to women’s educational attainment. The literacy rate is slightly higher for women, with 91.5% than for men, with 89.5%. Enrolment in primary education stands at 86.8% for women and 84.4% for men and it rises to 90.3% for women when it comes to secondary education enrolment, and 95.2% for men. Most women in higher education obtain a degree in Business, Administration and Law. (1)

Current Law and Policy:

The UAE does not have any specific laws to address domestic abuse. It is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of any form of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The government does mandate public officials to publish statistics to prevent domestic violence in the country. The criminal law recognises the crime of assault which would include physical domestic abuse. However, the police are not trained on this type of assault and there is no specific way to register a complaint. Furthermore, Article 53 of the UAE Criminal Law allows the husband to chastise his wife or children to a certain degree as permitted under the Sharia Law. In addition, Article 56 of the UAE personal Status Law requires the wife to obey her husband’s command.

Frontline Services:

· Dubai Foundation for Women and Children - -




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