The Politics of Women Empowerment: Female Leaders in the uae

Rahma Abdulkadir, Henriette Müller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent decades, the governments of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have substantially increased their promotion of women in public life, with more women obtaining senior positions in an array of social domains. Despite these efforts, women's leadership in the public sphere of GCC states still lags behind what has been achieved in other parts of the world. Focusing on the UAE, this article provides an overview of the current state and complex nature of women's leadership in the Emirates. It examines who the UAE's female leaders are, their socio-economic backgrounds, and the specific social arenas they most often obtain leadership positions in. The article utilizes a newly compiled data set on the socio-economic backgrounds of women who obtained leadership positions in the realms of politics, the economy, and society more broadly in the UAE between 1970 and 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-30
Number of pages23
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • GCC states
  • United Arab Emirates
  • state-centred feminism
  • women empowerment
  • women's leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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