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Asian Migration and Global Cities

Anne Cong-Huyen, Jonathan Young Banfill, Katherine Herrera, Samantha Ching, Natalie Yip, Thania Lucero, Randy Mai, Candice Lau, Authors

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Women In Dubai

The official websites of Dubai feel the need to emphasize that the city is a progressive place where women are a part of the government, this serves to contribute to the image of Dubai as a Modern Muslim city. 

Official Sites and their Depiction of Women in Dubai:

The UAE's official website has a section exclusively dedicated to explaining the rights of women in the UAE. According to the website under the constitution of the the UAE "'guarantees equal rights for both men and women. Women enjoy the same legal status, claim to titles, access to education and right to practice professions as men." The literacy rate of women was 90% as of 2007, the number of women in higher education is 24% higher than UAE males, and women have began to be trained as scholars to interpret Islamic law. Women also are present in the government, engineering, science, health care, media among other fields. Women in the UAE account for one third of the transactions in the financial and banking sector. Maternity leave is also highlighted in the website, claiming that a "woman is entitled during the first two months to full pay, the third and fourth with half pay, and last two months with no pay." And that women can take one paid hour break over a period of 18 months to nurse her child. It is important to mention that maternity leave is reserved for women in government jobs.

 Not only is website directed towards portraying Dubai as a progressive city but it also serves to establish Dubai as a city where all men and women are equal. Although women do have rights according to the UAE's official website it is only UAE women not migrants have access to rights. It is important that all women regardless of their place of birth have rights in the UAE. Many immigrant women suffer everyday in Dubai from labor exploitation and misogyny. 

Official advertisement that portrays the Life Style of Women in Dubai: 

This video highlights how Dubai has tried to portray itself in a very progressive light, while still embracing its Muslim origins, it is also trying to appeal to the "modern Muslim Woman". In this video we see a Ferrari with a formula 1 license, the only one ever in the region which is definitely something that is not as common in other countries. 

The official media that portrays women in Dubai fail to recognize that the wealthy lifestyle is exclusively reserved for wealthy women. All the immigrant women who work on the service industry do not have the luxury to work in leadership positions, drive a Ferrari, or live in a mansion.  

Realities of immigrant women in Dubai: 

The Times of India in November of 2013 reported that three Indians were accused of confining 19 Filipina hotel workers in a villa in Dubai for over a month. The villa was owned by the hotel, and was the official living headquarters for the Filipina workers. According to the article the women were not allowed to leave the villa during their free time or during holidays. The women would be picked up for work at 7am and brought back to the villa when their shift ended at 8pm. Once they returned to the villa they would be jailed inside of it. The men who confined the women pleaded not guilty to the charges, and claimed that they confined the women to protect them against sexual harassment.  The 19 Filipina hotel workers were receptionist, housekeepers, and maids. One of the female workers had this to say "since I started work, the senior workers told me that it was against the hotel's to go out of the residence during free time or after work or on holidays. As soon as we returned to the residence, the defendants would lock the door and prevent us from going out...We were forced to agree because we had no other choice...During the confinement period, nobody treated us badly." Although, the Filipina workers did not experience bad treatment the mere fact that they were restricted of their liberty is already a sign of human right violations. This article debunks the image as the UAE as a state that is committed to protecting the rights of women. In this article it is made clear that immigrant women do not have rights, and that misogyny still exists in Dubai. 

By: Thania Lucero
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