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why would a woman want to work in the UAE?

 
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chinagirl



Joined: 27 May 2003
Posts: 233

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 5:06 pm    Post subject: why would a woman want to work in the UAE? Reply with quote

I am asking this question in a completly open-minded way. I was reading the State Department's country report on the UAE at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/nea/824.htm and I just wanted to ask the question:

Are there foreign women teaching at UAE Universities? What is it really like for women in the UAE?

Can you folks enlighten me?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15600
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chinagirl, I don't know what the countryreport has to do with your questions. All I can say is that I am a single American who worked there for a number of years, enjoyed it greatly, saved a bunch of money, and have many single female friends who have done and are doing the same.

The colleges and universities of the Emirates have many expat women.

Other than that your questions are so open that I don't know what it is that you want to know. Perhaps if you post more specific questions. Smile

VS
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Irish



Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 3:53 am    Post subject: Why do I want to work there? Reply with quote

Chinagirl,

I haven't worked in the UAE; however, it's at the top of my list for places to work when I finish my degree next year. Basically, I want to go because it seems like a place where I can make a fair wage and have a decent standard of living (then again, my needs are simple) while doing the work I love in a culture that fascinates me. The fact that other women have done this and enjoyed it encourages me.

The UAE isn't the USA but it certainly isn't the KSA either. Their rules are not exactly what I'm used to, but I can live with the differences. However, I'm single and not planning on hooking up with anyone in the near future, which probably makes a difference.

Is there something in particular from the report that puzzles or bothers you? My apologies for not reading it closely before posting but doing so will cut into my beach time. (Now I've done it--VS is going to start quoting housing prices in her neighborhood in her next post!)

My apologies for this long post from someone with nothing much to say. I'm certainly looking forward to hearing from the experienced ones among us.
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Pat



Joined: 05 Mar 2003
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 6:07 am    Post subject: The UAE and the state department's country report Reply with quote

The value of the state department's country reports is in the eye of the writer. Consider the fact that one of the main purposes is CYA as a bureaucrat and another is to be non-committal.

The UAE is an open, friendly and tolerant society. I've been here the past 7 years, after completing 2 years in the Kingdom. In some ways, the UAE, especially Dubai, is more open and tolerant than the US is CURRENTLY.
There is plenty to do for singles and families. There is also fabulous coastline, but the waves will never match those in your home.
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chinagirl



Joined: 27 May 2003
Posts: 233

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 1:36 pm    Post subject: to be more specific :P Reply with quote

I'm sorry that I was so vague. I guess what I was asking was -
I know that the UAE is not the US. However, by looking at the country report it looks that while the UAE is further along than other Muslim countries in terms of women's rights, it appears that being a married foreign woman would have its issues. I would never go there, I think, simply because of my religion (secular Jewish, but Jewish nevertheless) In the current climate after 9-11, I don't know if I'd want to go there as an American, anyway.

Shari'a law seems to be followed in some cases and it looks like in employment, women many not receive equal treatment. I was just wondering how this extended to foreign women.

In terms of human rights, I've lived in worse places. I was just curious what it's really like there.

Here were some of the quotes that led me to the original question.



"Discrimination based on national origin, while not legally sanctioned, is prevalent. Employment, immigration, and security policy, as well as cultural attitudes towards foreign workers, are conditioned by national origin."

" Husbands may bar their wives and children from leaving the country (see Section 2.d.), and a married woman may not accept employment without her husband's written consent, although such permission usually is granted."

"The Constitution provides for equality before the law with regard to race, nationality, religious beliefs, or social status. However, there is institutional and cultural discrimination based on sex, nationality, and religion."


Just attempting to broaden my horizons. Thanks, folks.
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Irish



Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 5:19 pm    Post subject: Matrimonial bonds (or is it bondage?) Reply with quote

Chinagirl:

If I was a cynic, I'd say that of the three points you quoted from the report, numbers one and three could be applied to the Homeland. Not that I'm a cynic or anything...

All joking aside, you raise a good point. If I was Jewish, secular or religious, I'd probably pass on the entire region too. I admit--the point about wives needing their husbands' permission to exit the country bothers me but it's not an issue since I'm single. What if I fell head over heels in love with a local and he proposed? Hoo boy. Too hard to say in the abstract. If I trusted him enough to marry him--and that would take a lot of trust on my part--I guess we'd work it out. It doesn't look like you've had a married woman come through here yet but perhaps the others can relate what they know about co-workers who were in that situation.

Pat:

As for the waves not measuring up to the ones I'm used to...well, we've all got to make sacrifices sometimes. Just give me a bit of ocean to swim in and I'm a happy haole.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15600
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a tendency to agree with Irish's cynicism, but I think Chinagirl is under the impression that the marriage rule would affect expatriates. I have never heard of it being enforced other than for Muslims.

This could come up with a Western woman married to a local man. But if she was astute enough to use the marriage contract that is normal in that part of the world, she could have open permission for her and any future children inserted. Any woman who took this on 'trust' is very likely to be disillusioned.

The 'discrimination based on national origin' is common and seen in the fact that certain nationalities fill certain jobs. For instance, almost all taxi drivers are Pakistani - the gardeners all seem to be Pashtuns - etc.

Discrimination seems to be much more widespread that any of us would wish. Everywhere I have been some people seem to be more equal than others. America certainly doesn't have the equality that most of us would wish. Islam too teaches an equality that is also often ignored. We humans are an imperfect lot.

VS
(Irish - housing prices? too cryptic for me -- provided and paid for by employers in the UAE -- nobody cares about my current hinterlands of the US Smile )
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Irish



Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 11:53 pm    Post subject: Cryptic references R us Reply with quote

Sorry, VS, the cryptic reference just popped out. I was thinking back to when Nomad Dan said how nice it would be to buy a house in Hawaii (you may recall he was asking if anyone had bought a house, rented it while working abroad, then returned to the US to live in it), so I quoted him a few of the nosebleed-inducing figures for a few properties on Oahu. Living here is so expensive that more and more families are going to the mainland where they can actually afford homes. Las Vegas is the most popular spot but many end up in the hinterlands too. When we tease our landlocked friends about missing surf and sun, they quote housing prices to us--we shut up pretty quick. Honestly, I don't know how any of us can afford to live here. Oh, wait, I remember: we live in tiny, over-priced concrete cracker boxes beside the freeway.

So now that I've beaten that meaningless aside to death...

Thanks for the reminder about marriage contracts--I knew they existed but failed to make the obvious connection between them and open permission to travel. As I've said before, I'm happily single and don't see that changing anytime soon, but my friends often ask me hypothetical questions about what I'd do if I fell in love with a Muslim man. "Would you convert? Would you wear a veil? How will you raise the kids? What will you do if...?" Heck, I don't know! Personally, I can't see a conservative Islamic man falling for someone like me, but who can predict the future? If the right guy comes along, we'll work it out.

As far as sexism in the workplace goes, I've faced it in one form or another in other jobs. All I can do is get try to get the best contract possible and keep my part of the bargain. If my employer refuses to abide by our deal, I'll move on. Hmm, sounds a bit like marriage.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15600
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 4:05 am    Post subject: a story on sexism - Middle East vs America Reply with quote

While I was working on my MA thesis in a Middle Eastern located university, one of the other students decided to replicate a sociolinguistic study done in the US in the late 70's. It had a number of men and women read the same pieces of writing while the author names were altered randomly as to the sex. The writings were on many different topics, science, engineering, medicine, education, law, etc. If you remember it, the result was that the writing and the knowledge of the writer was considered higher rated if the writer was male - from both the men and women raters. For instance, a paper in Engineering - normally a male preserve - if shown with a female writer, got lower ratings for writing and content. The hypothesis of the new study was that it would an even more dramatic difference if the study was done with Arabic speakers.

She went to huge effort with this study. All of the papers were in both Arabic (translated by professionals in the field) and English. They were read by both monolingual and bilingual Arabs - men and women. She traveled all over the country so that it would reflect urban and rural subjects. Again the authors were randomly changed between male and female Arabic names. SURPRISE - the results came out the extreme opposite. If a paper on a topic thought of as a male field - like engineering - was given a female writer - its ratings went through the roof - from both sexes. It was so dramatic that she went back to interview people to ask them why.

It turns out that while the American rater made the assumption that a woman scientist or engineer was inferior to her male counterpart, the Arab rater had an opposite reaction. Their assumption was that if she had fought for that education and was successful enough to be writing for professional journals, she must be outstanding.

So much for sexual stereotypes - on both sides. Smile

As to marriage contracts, this is one place the Arabs have a good idea. Normally the fathers are the ones to work it out so that the couple doesn't really do the negotiations directly. But, they work out many of the what ifs. I have Arab friends who put into the contracts that the husband could not take a second wife. If he decided that he wished to, she could request and get a divorce with no contest and a significant amount of cash. Any Western woman who marries an Arab should never consider doing it without getting a good Muslim lawyer to draw up that contract. He would point out such problems as if you stay Christian, you can not inherit in most of the countries. Any Muslim man worth his salt will respect you for it. If he fights it or gets upset about it, you know you are making a big mistake. Don't leave home without it!! Smile

Gee, I hope Lucy S isn't reading this. She will get upset at me for going on for so long - sorry Lucy if you are out there.
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 8:51 pm    Post subject: women in the uae Reply with quote

China Girl: I was told by my former employer in the UAE that anyone who identified themselves as a Jew would not receive a working visa. Years ago, when I first worked there, they asked my religion, took my parents' full names (mother's maiden) and did a little bit of checking up. I did not go through this the last time around so perhaps things have changed. At any rate, I found the UAE very comfortable to live in(pre and post 9/11 rate the same experience for me) and never perceived myself as supressed or threatened in any way. In fact, I felt more comfortable walking down the street in Dubai than in an American suburb or Cairo. HTH
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grand fromage



Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chinagirl, have you read the "Asian-American woman in the UAE..." thread? It has a lot of info that you might find interesting and maybe eye-opening.
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