x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE women feeling less powerful - but only a little

Women in the UAE are feeling less empowered than last year, with fewer believing they are in control of financial decisions or employed in management positions, according to a survey.

Women in the UAE are feeling less empowered than last year, with fewer believing they are in control of financial decisions or employed in management positions, according to a survey. The UAE's score in the Mastercard Worldwide Index of Women's Advancement dropped by 13 per cent this year, the company said yesterday. Despite the decline, UAE women still enjoy "high levels of socio-economic advancement", said Eyad al Kourdi, MasterCard's country manager and vice president for the southern Gulf.

Five of the six countries studied in the Middle East showed declines, and the UAE ranked third. The score is based on factors including the level of participation in the labour force, education, managerial positions and income in comparison to men. While the level of women's labour force participation in the UAE rose slightly from 42 per cent to 42.4 per cent and a greater proportion of women said they were earning above average incomes, other indicators fell.

Only 30 per cent of those surveyed perceived they made financial decisions in their household, compared to 60 per cent last year. In 2009, 140 women for every 100 men perceived themselves as "management", this year that fell to 70 women for every 100 men. Mr al Kourdi said the recent economic crisis could have "taken a toll". lmorris@thenational.ae