Emirati Women Leaders in the Cultural Sector: From "state Feminism" to Empowerment?

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Abstract

During the last decade Emirati women, due to their ever increasing educational achievements-sustained by a state politics of modernization-have ventured into a great variety of occupations. As a corollary, the term "women leadership" has become fashionable in public and governmental discourses, highlighting Emirati women's successes. In the article, I compare the state narrative on women leadership and female empowerment with the experiences of 30 Emirati women leaders from the cultural sector with whom I conducted extensive interviews (2018-19) about their career pathways, family background, achievements, and the various challenges and obstacles they face-both at work and at home. In this context, it is examined how Emirati women leaders are compelled to navigate between state feminist discourses and the still prevalent conservative gender role and value expectations in the United Arab Emirates. Finally, I discuss whether and to what extent UAE state feminism facilitates Emirati women's empowerment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-74
Number of pages24
JournalHawwa
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • United Arab Emirates
  • cultural sector
  • female leadership
  • gcc countries
  • patriarchy
  • state feminism
  • women empowerment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science

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