I posted a couple of days ago about the positive aspects of life in the emirates for females.
I didn’t even mention the ladies nights that take place across the city, to which you can shimmy on down in your highest heels and your sparkliest, skimpiest top and get plied with pink bubbly and more, on the house. Their logic being that where there are gals, the men will follow.
All in all, I think we have it amazingly good here, I really do. Certainly, there’s a lot of misinformed opinion around the world (‘Do they cut your hands off in Dubai?’ has appeared in my blog stats twice this week). However, the truth is the UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf.
But, as I pointed out, Western women living here will also encounter frustrations. For example:
– While setting up a joint bank account you might find your husband is the only person allowed to create your (your!) pin number
– You might have to get your husband to write a letter of consent to give to your GP before she can prescribe the contraceptive pill and all the health checks that go with it
And, believe me, things like this can make you froth at the mouth (what on earth happens, I wonder, if you don’t have a husband or close male family member? That must really throw ‘em for a loop).
I’ve come to the conclusion, though, that everything’s relative. Across the border in Saudi Arabia, life for women is quite different. The big news this week is that Saudi women can now legally ride a bike in public – sort of.
On Monday, the kingdom’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice reportedly overturned a ruling banning national women from cycling or motorbiking. But there are catches: they can only bike for leisure, not transportation, must wear a full-body abaya and be accompanied by a male relative.
I mean, seriously, let a woman pedal off on a bike and you never know where she’ll end up.