Women and Nation Building: The Case of the United Arab Emirates

In: Hawwa
Hissa Al Dhaheri Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates;, Email:

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The newly formed United Arab Emirates appears to be making strides towards the empowerment of women, with women becoming visible in public roles—particularly as professional broadcasters in the media and high-ranking ministers in government posts. However, some evidence suggests that in reality, the progress of women may be a patriarchal image created merely for the sake of appearances as part of the emerging nation's political agenda that seeks to convey the image of a 'modern' state. Fundamentally laws are still biased against women and the education system is still embedding gender bias into the minds of youths via the nation's core curriculum. On the positive side, those visible roles given to women as part of nation-state building and cultural identity projects cannot fail to lead to changes in the social perception of women. However, the fear is that the more the state focuses on creating an image; real change at the grass roots level will be sidelined.

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