The impact of international human rights on women’s rights in the United Arab Emirates: progress towards gender equality

PhD thesis

Alhmoudi, M. 2017. The impact of international human rights on women’s rights in the United Arab Emirates: progress towards gender equality. PhD thesis Middlesex University School of Law
TypePhD thesis
TitleThe impact of international human rights on women’s rights in the United Arab Emirates: progress towards gender equality
AuthorsAlhmoudi, M.

Despite substantial progress, gender inequality is still endemic in many regions around the world, particularly in Muslim countries. This constitutes a main obstacle to human development. At the international level, various instruments have been adopted in order to improve the situation of women, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). These conventions are important tools to advance the rights of women across the world. Amongst other international instruments, the UAE has ratified these conventions in order to demonstrate its commitment to women rights. Nonetheless, the UAE has repeatedly been criticised by the Committees of the CERD and the CEDAW and other non-governmental bodies for failing to meet the requisite international standards. Whilst the UAE has embarked on a modernisation programme several decades ago and has adopted a national strategy on the advancement of women and has created various national mechanisms and has made considerable progress in empowering women, there still exist some issues which impede gender equality. It is against this background that the research ascertains what impact the ratified human rights conventions have had in the UAE and how the UAE meets its international gender equality obligations. The objective of the research is therefore to critically assess to what extent the UAE has enabled women to enjoy political rights, as well as other rights affirmed by international women rights instruments and to analyse the impact which major international conventions, which the UAE has ratified, have had, as well as relevant national laws, policies and initiatives. A doctrinal analysis was critically conducted and socio-legal research was also considered. Additionally, a mixed method approach was adopted. Interviews were conducted with 14 respondents from the Ministry of the State for National Council Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior, the United Arab Emirates University, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the United Arab Emirates National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, the Emirates Human Rights Association, UAE non-profit bodies, the General Women’s Union, the Ewa'a Shelter for Women and Children, the Family Development Foundation Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children. Furthermore, two surveys were conducted with 427 female Emiratis and non-Emiratis, who live in the UAE. The research generally confirmed the literature. The findings highlighted that ratification constituted the logical conclusion of a long standing started state policy to promote gender equality. However, whilst much progress has been made in the economic and educational realm and to some extent in the political sphere, issues still persist in the private and family realm. Yet over time, the existing issues are likely to disappear, particularly in light of the fact that women are now much more educated, which will inevitably change their economic role and result in more public participation over the next years. Nonetheless, it is important that further legal reform takes place in order to combat androcentric and patriarchal interpretations within the law.

Department nameSchool of Law
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print17 Oct 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Oct 2017
Accepted16 Oct 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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