UAE Govt.: Women and The UAE Constitution
UAE Govt.: Women and The UAE Constitution Last updated on Monday 26th April 2010
From the time that the UAE was founded, the government has been most attentive to ensuring that both men and women be provided with every opportunity for education, advancement and success in whatever sphere. This philosophy is enshrined in the Constitution that specifically addresses issues of relevance to the safeguarding of women's interests.
The Constitution lays down, for example, that social justice should apply to all and that before the law, women are equal to men. They enjoy the same legal status, claim to titles, access to education and the right to practice their chosen professions. They are also guaranteed the same access to employment, health and family welfare facilities. In accordance with Islamic principles upon which the Constitution is based, the rights of women to inherit property are also guaranteed and insured.
The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates states:
"The family is the basis of society which shall be responsible for protecting childhood and motherhood. Laws shall be formulated in all fields to observe this protection and care in a way which safeguards the dignity of women, preserves their identity and secures for them the conditions appropriate for a prosperous life and suitable work which is in accordance with their nature and capabilities as mothers and wives and as workers."
On the international level, the UAE government is actively studying all international agreements related to the elimination of discrimination against women with a view to making sure that any clauses therein are not in contradiction with the UAE's legal code and laws.
The guarantees for women in the UAE Constitution have been written into other legislation passed subsequent to the establishment of the state. For example, under the Labor Law (the law that governs employment) discrimination in terms of salary between men and women is strictly forbidden.
Women are at present entitled to 45 days paid maternity leave in addition to any other leave entitlements. This policy is at present under review with the possibility of increasing the maternity leave to 90 days and also instituting an optional leave for up to two years on reduced salary to enable mothers to nurse infant children.
Should her husband die, a women is granted special paid leave for a period of four months and ten days in accordance with Islamic Sharia law. Again this would be in addition to any other leave entitlements.
The Constitution also states that civil servants may be granted at least two months' leave by the appropriate Minister if they are obliged to accompany a parent or child abroad for medical treatment.
These guarantees are certainly comparable to those in other parts of the world. Also active in the UAE is the officially-supported UAE Women's Federation which campaigns for possible changes and amendments to existing laws. An improvement which is currently being sought is changes in the Civil Service Law which would promote further employment of women in Government.