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International Women’s Day: UAE laws and policies that empower women

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


Every year March people across globe celebrate International Womens

Every year on March 8, people across the globe celebrate International Women's Day. The UAE has witnessed the footprints of many successful women. It is necessary to understand the policies and initiatives of the government to empower women.

In the UAE, women's status has improved over time.  Compared to other Gulf governments, UAE is more efficient and ambitious when it comes to gender equality, and it has been implementing changes to protect women's rights and give them more authority in a variety of fields. To resolve networking concerns, the UAE created a formal corporate networking plan for women in 2002.

The UAE received praise in 2019 for handing out all of its awards for the Gender Balance Index, as well as initiatives to close the gender pay gap within the government and promote equal opportunities. These awards included the best Gender Balance Initiative, the best person who supports gender balance, and the best federal authority who supports gender balance.

Recently, legal reformations in the Emirates were made to benefit women. A husband's right to correct his wife was acknowledged in Article 53.1 of the Criminal Code until it was abolished in 2016. 30% of all real estate in Dubai is owned by women, who are free to own property and take out mortgages in the UAE.

According to Article 9 (1) of the Federal Decree-Law No. 10 of 2019 concerning Protection from Domestic Violence, anyone found guilty of domestic violence faces a maximum sentence of 6 months in prison and/or a fine of up to AED 5,000. Financial, sexual, mental, and physical abuse are all covered by the law.

The revised UAE Labor Law 8/1980, which requires equal pay for men and women who perform the same employment or work of like value, came into effect in September 2020. UAE legislation does not place any limitations on the employment options for women. Private sector employees who are expecting have a right to 45 days of paid maternity leave. The rule also gives moms an additional hour off each day during working hours to breastfeed their children.

The World Bank's 2021 "Women, Business and the Law" study ranked the UAE as number one in the Middle East and North Africa area for economic engagement of women.

The UAE has several initiatives for the well-being of women. The national strategies for women’s empowerment include:

  • National strategy for empowerment of Emirati women
  • National strategy for motherhood and childhood
  • Female presence on the board of directors in all government entities and corporations
  • A gender balance council to fulfill the UAE’s vision to become one of the world's top 25 countries for gender equality.
  • Monthly financial assistance for Emirati widows, abandoned women, and women married to expatriate men who cannot earn a living for reasons beyond their control.
  • Equal and free access to all levels of education and vocational training.
  • Socio-economic and political empowerment.
  • Housing plans for single Emirati women.

Every year, UAE is making remarkable changes for women in the country. With a vision of empowering and liberating women, UAE enables an innovative approach to creating new opportunities for women.

Emirati Women's Day is celebrated on August 28th. It was observed for the first time in 2015 upon the initiative of Fatima Bint Mubarak, and it honors the anniversary of the creation of the UAE's General Women's Union.

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