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UAE’s weaker sex

UAE’s weaker sex

Gender inequality in the Emirates is high, and women lack economic opportunities, according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum.

November 9, 2009 12:16 by

But it’s not just the UAE that is doing badly in the region; Saudi Arabia came 130th on the index, Bahrain came 116th, Oman came 123rd and Qatar occupied the 125th place. The highest on the list was Kuwait, which came 105.

“Most Middle East and North Africa region countries not only continue to perform far below the global average, but also do not show much improvement over the last year or have deteriorated,” the report said.

But it also added that improvements have started taking place. “It is notable that in Kuwait, Tunisia, the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar, the tertiary education enrolment rates of women are higher than those of men. These economies have invested large amounts of resources in increasing women’s education levels and will now need to better integrate these women into the economy to reap the benefits of this investment,” the report said.

In what could be a major step in this direction, the UAE said last week that it would appoint state-sanctioned female muftis next year, The National reported. Six local women are being considered for the training program, and if accepted, they will start their training next year, Ahmed al-Haddad, head of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department told the paper. The program includes training in Sharia law and legal thinking.

“We continue to accept new applicants until we begin the training,” he said. “It is already part of the 2010 budget.”

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