I like so many other females around the world had little knowledge on life in the UAE, specifically Abu Dhabi & Dubai. Therefore, was very skeptical on holidaying here, let alone ever living here.
Having been born and raised in the sunny West Midlands back in England, after 20-odd years I decided to change my surroundings and try something new, this saw me packing my bags and setting off for the other side of the world – Sydney, Australia. 2 years in to this adventure I decided I wanted to move again, broaden my experience further and live and work another country, but the question was, where now?
Dubai had crossed my mind a number of times, I think most people know somebody living here nowadays, but I had never been and always thought against it, this had something to do with the stories you read in the UK tabloids which doesn’t paint the place in a good light and now I’m here, have no idea why.
My main concerns for not making the move was that I’m 28, can be somewhat of a boisterous/loud character and enjoy a few drinks (emphases on the few) and 100% believe in females having the same rights as men in all aspects of life – “Women’s rights are Human rights”. Gender equality in the Middle East and the UAE for females is a very concerning topic, often brought-up in conversations with questions such as ‘can I drive?’, ‘can I go out alone?’ – yes, yes you can.
However, with the longevity of the visa situation in Australia and the everlasting Brexit fiasco, I started to research the UAE further. With help from friends in UAE, recruitment consultancies who are super useful to ask for advice on life here (Pink Camel being one of them, www.pinkcamel.ae), and people who had visited the country, I found that this was not the place that I had first thought.
Since arriving in Dubai, I’ve experienced the different and unique offerings for females in the region, from the women and children only taxis from the airport which are driven by female drivers, the women and children only section on the public metro, which is very affordable, clean and reliable. Then there’s’ the numerous ladies’ days and nights, offering discounts on food and free alcoholic drinks all throughout the week.
As a newbie, there’s still plenty for me to experience in this wonderful region, but some additional information helped me to form my decision on moving to the UAE:
- The country holds their arms wide open to expats whether you are male or female. In fact, expatriates and immigrants account for 88.52% and Emiratis making up the remaining 11.48% of the population here in the UAE.
- Alcohol, a much-debated topic when introducing the UAE to a potential candidate. However, by holding a simple and easy to obtain license, you are able to keep and consume at home as well as enjoying in the many restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Dubai is very much like Las Vegas, with all the hotels having 2-3 venues to choose from.
- Equality, an article from The National, a local leading newspaper in the region stated that President Sheikh Khalifa has called for Emirati women to occupy 50% of the country’s Federal National Council after this year’s election which will be held in October. To further support this, the Vice president and ruler of Dubai stated, “women are half of our society: they should be represented as such”. If this does happen, the UAE would overtake both the UK and US in Parliament and Congress.
- Is the UAE the best country in the world? – I know you’re thinking ‘woah bit of an overstatement’, but recently the UAE has scored very highly in a large range of studies:
- Abu Dhabi was recently named the safest city in the world for the second year running by comparison site Numbeo.
- A recent study showed that 96.1% of people feel safe walking outside at night in the UAE, with Singapore coming a close second.
- The UAE is considered one of the happiest countries to live in the world, according to a study from the BCG.
- At the beginning of the year, the UAE was named one of the world’s best places to work, ranking 4th for economics in the HSBC Expat Explorer.
Lastly, I’ve recently found some great women empowering companies such as Hopscotch, who are a network for women looking for work/life balance, and Mums@Work who help mothers back into work place after taking a career break.
If you would like any further information on anything I’ve mentioned on the above, job opportunities here in the UAE or just a general chat about life here, please do not hesitate and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org