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Towards Increasing the Emirati Women Participation Rate in the...

Towards Increasing the Emirati Women Participation Rate in the Workforce

Published on: February 2020​ Genre: UAE Public Policy Forum​ Category: Social policy, Well-being and Happiness​
One of the key objectives of the Dubai 2021 plan is to create “an inclusive and cohesive society”. In particular, the UAE government has been keen, since the  very early days of the union, to set a number of initiatives within the women empowerment agenda. However, in spite of the UAE ranking second highest among  Arab countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report (2017), there is still a lot of room for improvement. This is particularly the case regarding employment: even though Emirati women represent 70% (Gender Balance Council, 2019) of university graduates in the UAE, only 28% (Jeffery, 2018) of women participate in the workforce. This is much lower than the international average of 42% (World Bank, 2018). Successfully addressing this issue typically requires an agile type of government and policy making, defining agility in governments as the quality “needed to respond faster and in a more personalized 
fashion to rapidly changing citizen’s needs” (MBRSG, 2019).

This paper identifies and examines the issues and sub-issues associated with the low participation of Emirati women in the workforce which are mainly related to: social pressure, lack of implementing supportive working policies and lack of childcare related incentives. It also provides an analysis of the root causes of the problem. The proposed policy solution options will provide a structured solution that could be implemented in a structured incremental policy plan by an agile government. The policy options proposed are based on best international practices and take into consideration efforts that has been made on the national level whether if it was in the form of a study or initiative.

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