Living as a woman in Dubai isn’t all that bad, there’s a lot of guides, articles, travel advice and such sites and blogs for women visiting or moving to Dubai!
So here are my a few of my personal experiences living in Dubai as a woman;
1. They have laws against dress code; keep your bikinis on the beach, your transparent tops to the hotel, but to be quite honest, as long as you respect the public places and you’re not walking around in a bikini or hot pants, you should be fine. Many local residents will wear shorts, strapped dresses and “normal” western outfits for the heat, just don’t expose any excess flesh; belly, thighs, your backside … Dubai is one of the more lenient emirates. However In malls and public places the security will enforce shoulders and knees to be covered. Just be respectful. In Ramadan (The holy month of fasting) you need to be extra respectful because it’s a Muslim country, this month is considered to be very auspicious and holy. Cover up a bit more than usual, though a lot of people travel out the country in these 30days due to the 50-60degree heat!
2. There are a lot of men who have come from remote, small villages in their own countries and they will stare at you if you are exposing too much flesh, which might be weird to us, but to them, sometimes it’s just the shock of being exposed to so much female flesh! Some of them are brought of with lengthy contracts (that ultimately say they don’t really have many rights) and on arrival their passports are taken away, they live to work, but they do it to support families back home. They are made to work long hours in the heat and I’m not one to speculate on things I have not seen with my own eyes, but I am aware their living conditions are far from adequate. This is no excuse for them to gawp at any lady when she’s walking down the street in a knee length dress or a little low cut, but looking never hurt anybody. Just ignore it is my best advice!
3. You are free to walk, run, jog, wander anywhere alone, but there are some places I would advice you don’t. For example the gold souq in deira and the old Dubai, I have never brought myself round to justify why but it’s just one of those dark alley dodgy areas. It’s no Saudi where you can call an 8year old your man if you don’t have a man to go out with, but there’s some place you would want company! Old Dubai and the gold souq is one of them! 🙂
4. Work, in some cases women are favored over men purely because they will before of an asset to the company than a man. This is offensive in my books, but it’s true. Dubai is popular for it’s events, part time work is popular! The August-June ish season
Is the season of events! From Arab heart to film festivals to TESOL ARABIA to MEC and The Big 5, science festivals and the famous GITEX! These two, three, week long events are a great chance to earn some quick cash in some ways! Women are always favored as promoters, hostesses, guides, help desk staff…. It’s all outsources and mainly female dominated! See it bad or see it good… That’s how Dubai does things in the world of part time jobs! However there’s more diversity in the full time roles, but at times you will get chosen over a man who has 5x more experience than you, purely because you’re a woman….. Hmmm… Food for thought eh?
5. Although I’m not a big drinker, the ladies night policies…. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and often some Thursdays it’s ladies night In Dubai! Free drinks for ladies!! Many bars, clubs and pubs will offer ladies 1-5 or some even until midnight free drinks; cocktails, spirits, etc to celebrate ladies night! There’s even a sheesha (hookah) cafe in karama that offers ladies free sheesha all day every day, I guess it’s a technique to attract more men!!!
6. How can I forget .. This should be top of my list… Although places like these get crowded because there seems to be more and more women coming to Dubai.. There’s everything separate for women! Metro? Women’s carriage, which has recently been extended. Busy area? Women and children first please! Buses? Women’s section! Long lines! Women and family line one side and single men the other! Hospitals? Women’s section! It’s quite nice sometimes 🙂 which is slowly becoming a norm in other parts outside the gulf too I believe?
7. Not an experience I have had but I have many female friends who are expats who work and their husbands are house husbands! Which even to the western world is odd! Forget about the gulf! But again… It’s easier for a woman to get a job, and she can sponsor her husband and dependents! A lot of them are teachers, purely for passion or experience, whatever the story, the benefits are great, not nothing you would get in the UK as a expat teacher; housing, medical, visas, school fees for children, some single women don’t even pay the bills!
OVERALL, I love Dubai, the summer all year round, the quality of lifestyle on an average Income is better than wasting earning on taxes, I would want to boat but think I may be above the average though myself.
Everywhere has it’s ups and downs, everywhere has it’s problems, but at the end of the day…. Don’t let anyone scare you from living as a single woman In Dubai if you can secure a good job, why not start your own company if you have some savings and a great idea knocking about? There are lots of free zones, where you can own 100% of your company, and people are more willing here. With the upcoming expo and general willingness, there’s always room for new ideas and innovations here! 🙂
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