Social pressures hold Emirati women back from work

Discrimination by employers also to blame for lack of working women - study.
Social pressures hold Emirati women back from work
CAREER MOVE: Only 25 percent of the Emirati workforce is made up of women. (Getty Images)
By Elsa Baxter
Mon 24 May 2010 07:38 AM

Social pressures and discrimination from employers are thought to be to blame for the lack of Emirati women in the workforce, a recent study has found.

According to government figures, 77 percent of women go study at university, yet only 25 percent currently make up the Emirati workforce.

A study by the American University of Sharjah, reported by the National on Monday, was set up to examine this discrepancy and found a number of factors at play.

Family pressures not to work in a public role, or concern that a working woman means her husband cannot provide properly for the family are issues, the paper reports.

The study, which asked the opinions of 68 Emiratis aged between 17 and 26, also found that respondents thought that companies preferred to hire foreign workers rather than local women.

“When you ask women whether they’d like to work, they all say that they’d like to work once they leave university. Then they encounter the reality that women from good families don’t do this. This rule is almost unspoken,” Dr Meenaz Kassam, a professor in the department of international studies, told the paper.

Respondents urged for changes to working practices, like the introduction of home working and flexible hours, as ways to increase the number of working women.

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