Women in the UAE share a story of development and success when one digs into the different parameters. A country’s progress in gender equality can be assessed by examining various indicators and factors across different domains.

Did you know that 9 UAE Cabinet members are women? That women constitute about 30% of the workforce of the UAE? That women in their 30s can aspire to positions of responsibility significantly beyond what could be expected in western jurisdictions? That gender equality is recognised in the UAE constitution? That the UAE Personal Status Law has been recently revised bringing women’s rights in custody, marriage, ? That UAE public Women’s hospitals rank at the top of quality and service? That when it comes down to domestic violence 0 is allowed? That women in the UAE have access to equal education and benefit from high education standards?

The purpose of our publication in commemoration of this International Women’s Day is to highlight the numerous advances and ongoing initiatives to continue to foster gender balance.


Women’s rights and the legal framework governing them in the UAE have undergone significant advancements in recent years:

  • Constitutional Rights for Women in the UAE:

The UAE’s constitution serves as the foundational document for the legal system and governance of the country. Article 25 of the UAE Constitution explicitly guarantees equality for all citizens before the law, without discrimination based on various factors including gender. This constitutional provision forms the basis for subsequent laws and policies aimed at promoting gender equality and protecting women’s rights.

  • Federal Law:

The UAE has enacted several federal laws to protect women’s rights, particularly in the realm of personal status law. The Personal Status Law governs various aspects of family life, including marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. Amendments to this law have been made over the years to enhance women’s rights, such as granting women more favorable conditions in divorce proceedings and custody disputes. These legal reforms aim to address issues such as domestic violence, financial security, and social welfare for women.

  • Family Law:

Family law reforms in the UAE have aimed to provide greater protection and rights for women within the family structure. For example, amendments to the Personal Status Law have introduced provisions for women’s financial security in divorce cases, including entitlement to alimony and property rights. Additionally, custody laws have been revised to consider the best interests of the child while also taking into account the rights of mothers.

  • Labor Laws and Women in the UAE:

The UAE has implemented labor laws to promote gender equality in the workplace and ensure that women are protected from discrimination and exploitation. These laws prohibit gender-based discrimination in hiring, promotion, and pay, ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work. Maternity leave benefits have been extended to provide women with adequate time off during pregnancy and childbirth, contributing to their health and well-being while balancing work and family responsibilities.

  • Women in Leadership:

The UAE has made concerted efforts to increase women’s representation in leadership roles across various sectors. Women hold positions in government, business, academia, and other fields, reflecting the government’s commitment to gender diversity and inclusion. Initiatives such as leadership development programs, mentorship opportunities, and quota systems have been implemented to facilitate women’s advancement into leadership positions and decision-making roles.

  • Education:

Education is a fundamental right for both men and women in the UAE, and the government has made significant investments in educational infrastructure and programs to ensure equal access to education for all citizens. Women have equal opportunities to pursue education at all levels, from primary school to higher education and vocational training. The UAE encourages women to pursue careers in diverse fields, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), through scholarships, grants, and specialized programs aimed at promoting women’s participation in these traditionally male-dominated fields.

  • Social Progress:

In addition to legal and institutional reforms, the UAE has implemented social programs and initiatives to empower women economically and socially. These initiatives include support for women entrepreneurs, vocational training programs, and awareness campaigns to promote gender equality and women’s rights. The government collaborates with civil society organizations, international agencies, and other stakeholders to address gender-based violence, discrimination, and other barriers to women’s empowerment. Examples of these initiatives are the following:

Some notable programs include:

    • Women in the UAE’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs)

      The UAE is a supporter of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, which offer guidance to businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace, and community. This commitment encourages companies in the UAE to adopt policies and practices that promote gender equality.

    • National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women

      This strategy outlines the government’s objectives and action plans to enhance the role of Emirati women across various sectors. It focuses on areas such as education, employment, leadership, and community engagement.

    • The Gender Balance Council

Established in 2015, the Gender Balance Council is responsible for promoting gender balance in the UAE’s labor market. It works towards reducing the gender gap in various fields and enhancing the role of women in decision-making positions.

    • Emirati Women’s Day

The UAE celebrates Emirati Women’s Day annually on August 28. This day recognizes and honors the achievements of Emirati women across different sectors. It serves as a platform to highlight success stories and encourage further advancements in women’s empowerment.

    • Majlis of the Future Women’s Program

      Launched by the UAE Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, this program aims to empower young Emirati women by providing them with opportunities for personal and professional development. It includes mentorship programs, workshops, and initiatives to enhance skills and leadership qualities.

    • Women’s Business Council (WBC)

      The WBC was established to promote the economic participation of women in the UAE. It focuses on creating an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs and professionals through networking events, mentorship programs, and support for women-led businesses.

    • Support for Women in the UAE Entrepreneurs

      The UAE has introduced various initiatives to support women entrepreneurs, including access to funding, training programs, and networking opportunities. Organizations like the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises Development offer specific support for women-led businesses.

    • UAE Gender Balance Index

      The Gender Balance Index is a comprehensive measurement tool that assesses the efforts of government entities to promote gender balance in their workplaces. This initiative encourages public and private organizations to adopt policies and practices that enhance gender balance.

    • Initiatives in the Education Sector for Women in the UAE

      The UAE places a strong emphasis on women’s education, encouraging them to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. Scholarships, mentorship programs, and initiatives promoting girls’ education contribute to narrowing the gender gap in these sectors.

Conclusion on Women in the UAE

Overall, the UAE has made significant progress in advancing women’s rights and promoting gender equality through legal, institutional, and social reforms. We have listed the improvements and the ongoing initiatives. We would love to hear from you on your assessment: Does the UAE pass the gender equality test? Tell us your story and/or opinion.


We hope this publication will help you understand the developments for Women in the UAE and remain available for any questions regarding this post of general application.

For more information published in English you can visit all our publications at this link as well as the videos in English of our Partner Maria Rubert.

*The information on this page is not intended to be legal advice. This article is intended to provide an initial introduction to Women in the UAE.