M's culture and lifestyle columnist answers queries about the female labour force, how Jumeirah Road earned its reputation, workout considerations and the law regarding sick leave.
Ask Ali: On women in the workforce, and Jumeirah Road
Dear Ali: What is the number of working women in the UAE? AK, Dubai
Dear AK: As per the latest Statistic Yearbook for the UAE, the labour force as of 2010 was estimated to include 21,535 national and 124,910 expat working women. For more facts and figures, visit the website of the Statistic Center of Abu Dhabi at www.scad.ae/en.
The number of national working women does not mean anything negative. In fact, our country excels at having an educated number of females who pursue professional careers. This makes us proud that our nation is answering doubts from around the world on the equality between men and women, since the way we define equality is about rights and opportunities.
Women here have reached high status in Government positions and many other areas and are a strong force in our economy.
Dear Ali: Why is Jumeirah Road the most famous road in the UAE? Why do people from other emirates visit it every weekend? AI, Dubai
Dear AI: I always thought the most famous road is the Dubai-Sharjah Highway, judging by the amount of traffic that surrounds me - or rather, in which I am stuck - when I am on the way to my family in Sharjah.
Isn't Jumeirah great? It features wide, public, accessible beaches that are terrific places to get together with friends; loads of restaurants and coffee shops; some not-too-overloaded shopping centers; a number of local and international art and fashion galleries - how much more do you need?
There might be nicer beaches elsewhere and maybe greater restaurants, but you won't find it all in one spot as in Jumeirah.
Thus, it has become over the years "the place to be" over the weekend, and - this is not a secret - it gets crowded. If you would rather escape, there are locations on some of the Abu Dhabi islands that are truly hidden treasures.
Dear Ali: I like to run in the mornings, but I worry this might be offensive to others while I am in your country. Is this an acceptable behaviour, and are there any alternatives? TS, Salt Lake City, Utah
Dear TS: Rest easy. We will admire your level of energy for running every morning. I just would recommend some considerations when choosing your route and your running outfit.
We have lots of public parks and specially designed running tracks - great places and definitely a smarter choice than residential areas.
Even though it's understandable for you to want to wear a sports outfit, be a bit conservative. A loose T-shirt, for example, would be more appropriate than a belly-baring sports top.
Dear Ali: Labour law states that sick leave is unpaid during probation. Will an employee get reimbursed after completing probation? JK, Abu Dhabi
Dear JK: UAE labour law grants an employee, even one on probation, the right to miss work if his health condition requires it and this is certified by a doctor. During the probation period sick days are unpaid leave and wages for missed days are deducted from the monthly salary. There is no reimbursement for those days when employment becomes permanent.
English: Stay (don't move)
Gir is an Emirati dialect word used when you want someone to stay in his or her location. I heard this word a lot when I was a child. My mum would say: "Ali, gir mukanik!" meaning "Ali, stop moving and stay still!"