Women in Business in the UAE

The situation in the UAE is very different than in neighbouring Saudi Arabia where opportunities for women are very restricted.

There is an increasing sense of entrepreneurship amongst local women which means that conditions have changed considerably in the past ten years or so. Although it is still possible to meet local men who show an overt gender bias (and these older, more traditional men are often the decision-makers) it is becoming increasingly common to encounter women in business in all sectors of the economy.

These changes have probably been driven by the sheer number of expatriates who work in the region and the influence of the many multi-national corporations who operate there and who import their beliefs on gender equality (a well as other diversity strands). It is impossible to say there is no gender bias in the UAE (Dubai is probably the most liberal of the states) but international women business travellers shouldn’t find this too much of an issue.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in the United Arab Emirates

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in the United Arab Emirates. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in the United Arab Emirates and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips