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Women in Parliament and Politics in the UAE: A Study of the First Federal National Council Elections

Published on: March 2009​
Genre: Gender​ Category: Research Report/ Research Paper/ White Paper​
The growth of women’s participation in parliaments worldwide is still notably low and, in response, the majority of governments have introduced policy measures to redress the gender imbalance. In the United Arab Emirates, a country that recently initiated an electoral parliamentary process, elections were held in 2006 and included women as both voters and candidates for the first time. This historical juncture provides a timely opportunity for analyzing the entry of women into parliamentary life in the UAE, and to contribute to the global debate on closing the political gender gap. Based on interviews with members of the Federal National Council, surveys of the opinions of male and female candidates who participated in the UAE elections, and archival material from the election campaigns, this study investigates key themes in the nature of women’s roles in the political process. The findings of this study demonstrate commonalities between the experiences of both male and female politicians, as well as critical gender-specific challenges. Key recommendations based on the findings include continued support of government for a more inclusive political process, quality training for candidates and parliamentarians, closing the gender gap in citizenship status, and strengthening the role of the Federal National Council.

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