"i Want to be a Leader, but Men Are Better Than Women in Leadership Positions": State Feminism and Legitimizing Myths in the United Arab Emirates

Rana Al-Mutawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research paper investigates female perceptions of female leadership in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where, particularly recently, state feminism has supported women's occupation of leadership positions. It thus explores how state feminism's portrayal of the ideal woman in leadership has impacted Emirati women's perceptions of female leaders. A survey comprising 350 female Emirati students was undertaken, and results were supported by interviews. Findings suggest that although 93 percent of respondents "wanted to" or "probably wanted to" be leaders, they nevertheless endorsed "sexist" stereotypes and legitimizing myths. These contradictions are due, most likely, to ambivalent messages disseminated by the state and by society at large about female leaders. This research postulates that, while women have gained more agency in the public sphere through occupying leadership positions, their own perceptions and portrayals of acceptable gender roles are complex and ambivalent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-50
Number of pages20
JournalHawwa
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Arab Gulf
  • Emirati women
  • female leadership
  • state feminism
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of '"i Want to be a Leader, but Men Are Better Than Women in Leadership Positions": State Feminism and Legitimizing Myths in the United Arab Emirates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this