As modernization forays into the Middle East, the region’s workforce has recorded a huge number of women expats. But how is life in the Middle East as a single female professional? Read on to know more.
With modernization gradually taking place in the UAE the attitude of the society towards women has changed a lot. Women in the UAE are now joining the workforce and are making major contributions by taking up challenging jobs.
Enduring in a social order that puts up with rigid social and religious decrees might not be an easy job; besides in a society where men massively outnumber women – working and living alone as a single professional woman can be quite perplexing.
While jobs in the Gulf nations never seem to fall short for deportees, many businesses often hire women workers. But, moving into a country where women are most often outshined by their male colleagues can be a little problematic. So, how does it feel to live and work as a single working woman in the Gulf? What are the various things that you need to keep in mind while you are shifting base to the Gulf for work purpose.
Modernization and Job Opportunities
Several cities of the Middle East especially Abu Dhabi and Dubai attracted attention of the entire world because of its forward looking attitude and developments in all fields. Modernization became the buzzword for these cities. With adoption of positive changes the society benefited at large in the form of social and economic developments.
Economic growth in the form of greater industrialization and improvement of several sectors helped in the creation of more jobs. Unemployment problems are much less here in the UAE as compared to many other economies of the world. Improvement in the job market is taking place quite rapidly. This could be easily traced from some statistical figures which revealed that the unemployment rate reduced from 1.1% in 2008 to 0.8% 2010. This is a huge improvement in an economy where the unemployment rate is already very low.
Job Opportunities for Women in the UAE
Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the two cities in Middle East that are most popular for job markets. Large numbers of individuals irrespective of their gender, nationality, religion and origin head to the UAE to build a strong career. Job opportunities for women have increased considerably in the past few years. Nowadays, both natives as well as expat women look forward to take up challenging tasks for growth in their career. Statistical figures show that women in the UAE are more willing to take up challenging tasks as compared to many other nations of the world. Around 80% of the women in the UAE are willing to do challenging tasks, whereas the average percentage for the same at the global level is only 58%.
Increased Tolerance towards Women
Since more women expatriates in Abu Dhabi are joining the workforce, the attitudes of the society towards them have changed considerably over the past few years. Certain laws imposing restriction on women have also been relaxed. As UAE has become more cosmopolitan in nature, the tolerance level towards women has also increased.
Expatriate women in the Middle East
All single female professionals are expected to abide by the colonization laws valid for millions. Most women working in the Middle East seem to be fervent about the job opportunities combined with the profits of a tax free salary. While many expatriate women are of the opinion that career opportunities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and also Qatar are remarkably good, there is a backside too. It is not all plain sailing for all. All prospective refugees should take a reality check before considering a life abroad—especially the Middle East.
Dress code in Middle East abides by very rigid decorum. Native women are used to the hijab but non-Muslim women might find it a little difficult to adjust with this environment. However, as the saying goes “When in Rome do as the Romans do” – it is better if you abide by certain rules at least out of respect if nothing else. Aim to cover up shoulders and don’t wear short dresses.
While the entire region stands by these rules, Dubai is quite relaxed about dress code. But it is wise that you carry a headscarf even if you are visiting the beach or a night club.
Social Life for Women Professionals
Well, in a country where laws are quite rigid, social life is bound to be somewhat restricted. But you can definitely go out with friends. Be aware about limitations on alcohol intake. Abu Dhabi and Doha have a better societal life with several clubs and bars. But whatever you do, better be accompanied by friends.
Some useful tips to follow are:
- Associate with women expatriates; this will give you a fair idea about the region
- Make sure that your service is watertight
- Ensure you have a proper medical insurance
- Have emergency contact numbers ready
- Finally consider having a dependable flatmate so that you can share some of your common bills and enjoy better company
Being a single woman professional in the Gulf countries can actually be a worthy experience if you are able to strike the right chord.
Images courtesy of stockimages at Free Digital Photos and Jumeirah Beach Hotels.