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Death by compliments: let’s have some genuine respect around here, shall we?

Death by compliments: let’s have some genuine respect around here, shall we?

Eva Fernandes feels the local press tendency to herald Emirati’s every slightest move as the greatest achievement is just supremely patronising.

June 20, 2011 11:07 by

Have you noticed how the local press has a tendency to inflate and celebrate the slightest achievement of every Emirati? Now don’t get us wrong, Kipp’s fully supports empowering the local population and recognising national milestones, but every now and then we see a commemorative story in the papers which we think is just downright patronising: ‘Emirati opens business’, ‘Emiratis embrace social media’, ‘Emiratis shop online’—well you get the gist.

And if you, dear Kipp readers, are as avid an observer of the local press as we know you are, we are sure you will agree that there are just far too many of these stories in circulation for one not to get offended by the outright patronisation. Kipp only makes such comments because we have Emirati friends who not only use social media on a regular basis and who frequently shop online but also have a degree or two to their name; and all of this without seeing themselves as anything other than the norm—and you know why? Because it IS becoming the norm.

Why the sudden rant? Well, it was all spurred on by this article that we read in The National a day or two ago on a study by Knowledge Point Performance Development and Assessment (KPPDA) that considered 30 Emirati women from the private sector and 30 from the public sector. The goal was to understand the mental toughness (i.e. “commitment, emotional and life control, ability to face challenges, and confidence.”) of Emirati women in the private sector and public sector.

The study found that Emiratis that were employed in the private sector—“The tougher breed of working women” as the article preferred to call them—were able to cope with challenges, more confident and committed than those in the public sector.

Not too surprising findings, considering the lead of this article: “As an Emirati mother of four and full-time employee, Zainab Abdulameer often finds herself putting in extra hours at work while trying to respond to the demands of her family (…).This is not unusual for many women who work in the private sector.”

So what exactly is Kipp’s problem with this apparently harmless article? Well it is this assumption, that by choosing the private sector, these women are overcoming the most serious hurdles. That these women are doing what no other Emirati woman has been capable of doing before, they are breaking the norm. But take a good look at the overall workforce:  for years, Emirati women have become strong, permanent fixtures on the business front—is Kipp the only one who sees how heralding private sector Emirati women employees is just downright patronising?

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  1. Andrew on June 20, 2011 11:19 am

    At least I wasn’t the only one rolling my eyes at that article.

  2. MK on June 21, 2011 11:19 am

    Agree with you Kipp, but with that said…I want to point out that if we’re to look at stopping this kind of patronizing behavior, then perhaps there should also be a closer look at difference treatment of locals in the workforce vs well…everyone else!


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