Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Women in the UAE

In the UAE, women enjoy the same constitutional rights as men. As per The Global Gender Gap Report 2015, the UAE is the third in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for gender balance. It scores above the regional average across all sub-indexes except ‘Health and Survival’, with 96 per cent of the gender gap closed. It ranks first in the region on literacy rate and third on wage equality for similar work.


After the 2015 elections of Federal National Council, 20 new members were appointed out of which 8 were women. That year, the FNC got its first woman speaker - Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi. This was the first time for a woman to hold this position not only in the UAE but also in the GCC.

In fact, Dr. Al Qubaisi was the first woman to be elected to the FNC.


The current UAE Cabinet comprises 29 ministers of which 8 are women.


The UAE established the Gender Balance Council to enhance work environment by giving women equal opportunities in the public sector. Towards that end, the UAE launched the Gender Inequality Index for Government sector.


The council would enact a framework to consolidate the efforts of various government entities. It aims to boost the country’s efforts to evolve and enhance women’s role as key partners in building the future of the nation.


Protecting Women’s welfare

The UAE adopted provisions to protect women’s social and financial welfare. Married women are entitled by the law to have marriage dowry and regular maintenance expenses paid by the husband. Expenses include living, food, medical and household costs.


If the husband fails to provide for his wife, the woman can file a suit before the court to claim expenses owed by the husband.


In case of a divorce, women are entitled to receive the postponed dowry in addition to custody expenses of the children.


Key achievements towards ‘Gender equality’

  • Half of the businesses in the small-to-medium enterprise sector in the UAE are handled by women
  • The UAE has opened the region’s first military college for women, Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School
  • The Federal National Council has 9 women members out of a total of 40
  • 4 women have been appointed as judges, 2 as public prosecutors and 17 as assistant public prosecutors and marriage officials
  • Women make up 20 percent of the diplomatic corps.


Read more about the sustainable development goal ‘Gender equality’.


Online services for women and girls


Useful links:

Achievement Progress