DUBAI // Twenty-one Emirati women have pursued careers in the arena of justice since the 2007 presidential decree allowed them to do so, and all four judges and 17 prosecutors are now winning praise.
"The women who joined the judicial field are currently doing exceptionally well and are exceeding everyone's expectations," said Judge Jamal al Sumaiti, the director of the Dubai Judicial Institute, where 20 of the 21 women were trained.
Two female prosecutors were at the top of their class among the Judicial Institute's 2010 graduates.
Dr al Sumaiti, however, said more remained to be done to encourage women to take up judicial roles.
"This is about nationals in general and not about men or women taking on these roles. I attribute this personally to the fear of becoming judges," he said. "When it comes to women and such a new role in society, it seems that they would rather wait and see how it develops.
"Taking on a role as a judge is a religious position in our society and carries a lot of weight and responsibility. A colloquial expression says: two judges are going to hell while one goes to heaven."
Judge Shaikha Hamad al Ghafli, who was sworn in last November, was the third Emirati woman to take a judicial position, and the second in Dubai.
"When I decided to take on this role I did not fear society's rejection. The leadership's faith in us as women bound me to push further and aspire for more," said judge al Ghafli, who works in Dubai's Civil Court. "I want more Emirati women to join the judicial field. It is not an easy task but … this job is not impossible."