16.Please describe measures taken to reduce unemployment among women and enhance their access to formal employment, address occupational segregation and close the gender pay gap. Please indicate measures taken to extend labour and social protection to women working in the informal economy. Please provide information on measures taken to encourage women to seek employment in traditionally male-dominated professions such as science, technology, artificial intelligence and engineering and in management positions, and provide relevant statistical data. Please also provide information on steps taken to incorporate a comprehensive definition of sexual harassment into the State party’s labour legislation applicable to both the private and public sectors and to provide for access to effective remedies. Please provide information on the number and outcomes of complaints by women about discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace and the effectiveness of labour inspections and other oversight mechanisms in the State party. Please indicate reforms that the State party is undertaking to ensure compliance with legislation on domestic workers (paras. 86–88), including the number of labour inspections of private households and the fines imposed on abusive employers. Please provide information about measures taken to ratify the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190), and the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189), of the International Labour Organization. Please provide information on measures taken to enable young mothers to return to work, including by promoting flexible working arrangements, equal sharing of family responsibilities by women and men, adequate childcare facilities and incentives for employers.
16.1.As regards closing the gender wage gap, Federal Decree-Law No. 6 (2020) has been adopted amending Federal Law No. 8 (1980) regulating labour relations. Article 1 of the Decree-Law provides that article 23 of the Law shall be replaced with the following text: “Women shall have the same remuneration as men for the same work or work of equal value. Standards for assessing work of equal value shall be set out in a decision of the Council of Ministers further to a recommendation of the Minister”.
16.2.With regard to measures taken to extend labour protection for women and enhance their access to employment:
–Labour laws and the Penal Code have been developed in the following ways in order to guarantee the elimination of workplace discrimination against women and gender-based violence, particularly sexual harassment:
–By virtue of Federal Decree-Law No. 6 (2019), a new article 7 bis was added to the Labour Law prohibiting any discrimination between individuals that would weaken equal opportunities or undermine employment access and retention and the enjoyment of employment rights. Discrimination between individuals is also prohibited in jobs that entail the same employment duties.
–A new article 30 bis was added prohibiting employers from ending the service of working women or giving them a redundancy notice owing to pregnancy or during that period. Termination of the work relationship in such instances is deemed arbitrary.
–The Decree-Law abrogates all the legal provisions that prohibited women from working at night or in jobs detrimental to health or morals. The Minister of Labour has been tasked with issuing a ministerial decision regulating women’s employment without discrimination while granting them the necessary protection.
–With regard to sexual harassment, the Federal Penal Code was amended by virtue of Decree No. 4 (2019). A new article 359 bis was added defining sexual harassment as any repeated and insistent annoyance of others through acts, words or gestures such as would offend their modesty with a view to eliciting a response to the sexual desires of the perpetrator or another person.
–The Decree provides that sexual harassment is an offence for which the prescribed penalty must be imposed if the perpetrator has employment authority over the victim. That penalty ranges from imprisonment for no less than one year, in ordinary cases, to a period of no less than two years if the perpetrator has employment authority over the victim, and/or a fine of no less than 50,000 dirhams, as opposed to 10,000 dirhams in other cases.
–Similarly, Federal Law No. 10 (2017) concerning domestic work prohibits any form of discrimination against domestic workers on the basis of race, colour, gender, religion, political opinion or national or social origin, and prohibits subjecting them to sexual harassment.
–As regards the division of roles and responsibilities between men and women, Decree-Law No. 6 (2020) grants male employees five working days’ paid paternity leave to care for their infant child. Those days may be taken until the child reaches the age of six months.
–With regard to labour market policies: the Government has adopted a package of active labour market policies aimed at increasing women’s participation in the labour market. A section has been established within the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation to address the employment of male and female nationals. A virtual labour market has been launched to make it easier for non‑national jobseekers to find work.
–In order to create opportunities for women freelancers and improve their access to funding for projects, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has launched a one-stop portal for skilled male and female nationals, who are the least represented category in the private-sector labour market. The national skills portal is connected to various programmes and services. It makes it possible to coordinate with public and private sector companies and draw on their expertise for training purposes. The portal also includes a package of incentives for companies which use it to find domestic talent.
–The Government has also adopted the lifelong learning strategy, an integrated ecosystem shared and developed by federal and local government authorities to put in place continuing education aimed at boosting capacities in the labour market and ensuring that workforce skills are in lockstep with future labour market needs. The Ministry’s labour market systems are used to analyse supply and demand for female labour over the coming period and to direct women jobseekers to opportunities for training and employment in those sectors or professions.
–The Government of the United Arab Emirates endeavours to curb gender segregation in the labour market. It has a policy of supporting women who seek employment in traditionally male-dominated professions and tackling social and cultural beliefs that could hinder their progress. It is a testament to that approach that more than 150 women female engineers, experts and technicians – 34 per cent of the total number – are working on the country’s Hope probe to Mars.
16.3.With regard to reforms that the State party is undertaking to ensure compliance with legislation on domestic workers: Council of Ministers decision No. 22 (2019) of 5 March 2019 contains the implementing regulation for Federal Law No. 10 (2017) concerning domestic workers. The regulation enshrines licensing requirements for recruitment offices and providers of bank guarantees and insurance. It sets forth the recruitment office’s obligations before the worker arrives in the country and regulates working hours and professional health and safety standards. Through a public-private partnership, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has established Tadbeer centres to provide integrated services for members of the public who wish to recruit and employ domestic workers.
17.Please indicate measures taken to enhance access by women and girls to health care, including sexual and reproductive health services, in particular in rural and remote areas. With reference to the Committee’s previous recommendations (CEDAW/C/ARE/CO/2-3, para. 42 (a) and (b)), please indicate whether abortion is legal, at least in cases of rape, incest, threats to the life or health of the pregnant woman or severe fetal impairment, and decriminalized in all other cases in the State party. Please provide information on measures taken to ensure that women and adolescent girls have access to safe abortion and post-abortion services. Please provide information on the availability of age-appropriate sexuality education at all levels of the education system, including in rural and remote areas.
18.Please indicate the percentage of women and girls without health insurance in the State party, including in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please indicate measures in place to ensure that women and girls with disabilities are not placed in mental health institutions and that no medical interventions are performed on them without their free, full and informed consent.
18.1.There are health centres in all remote areas. Female patients are transferred to specialized clinics for care if they so request. Article 10 of the Public Health Code (Law No. 13 (2020)) states that the Ministry and health authorities shall provide family health services, including reproductive health services and maternal care, particularly during pregnancy, childbirth, post-childbirth and breastfeeding. Health-care services in the country are provided to all residents without distinction based on gender or place of residence. By virtue of Law No. 4 (2016) concerning medical responsibility, doctors cannot perform an abortion or prescribe an abortifacient, except in the following cases:
1.If continuing the pregnancy would endanger the life of the pregnant woman, and if the following conditions are met:
(a)The abortion is the only way to save the pregnant woman’s life;
(b)The abortion should be performed with the knowledge of an obstetrician-gynaecologist and with the agreement of the doctor treating the disorder that justifies the abortion.
(c)A record should be drawn up, with the knowledge of the doctors concerned, stating that a natural birth was not possible and specifying the reason for the abortion. It should be signed, in such a manner to indicate agreement to the abortion, by the pregnant woman and by her husband or guardian if her consent cannot be obtained. Each of the parties concerned shall keep a copy of the record. Their agreement shall not be required in emergency situations that require an immediate surgical intervention.
2.If the fetus is shown to have an abnormality, subject to the following conditions:
(a)The abortion should be performed upon the written request of the two spouses.
(b)No more than 120 days should have passed since the start of the pregnancy.
(c)The abnormality should be documented in a report of a medical committee comprising consultants specializing in obstetrics, gynaecology and radiology.
(d)The committee’s report should be based on medical examinations and the use of scientifically recognized technologies.
(e)The fetus should have a severe and incurable abnormality such that, if the child were born alive, it would have a poor quality of life, causing pain to it and to its family.
18.2.All public hospitals are committed to admitting and treating all emergency patients, even if they do not have a social insurance card or if it is not in date. Public hospitals cover 100 per cent of diagnosis and treatment costs for women who have contracted COVID-19.
Economic empowerment and social benefits
19.Please provide information on access by women to loans and financial credit without the requirement of collateral and, therefore, on the promotion of inclusiveness in society and support for families. Please indicate measures taken to repeal discriminatory provisions regarding access by women to land and other property. Please indicate the percentage of businesses run by women and measures taken to promote their entrepreneurship in order to consolidate existing significant progress and the availability of social security provisions.
19.1.The Government of the United Arab Emirates has adopted numerous laws and policies to support the economic role of women. By virtue of a Council of Ministers decision of 2012, the Government enacted binding legislation setting a 20 per cent quota for female representation on all boards of directors of publicly listed companies. International studies have shown that the effect on the companies’ performance has been positive. The Government is therefore working to develop a gender-responsive budget and a national policy on Emirati women’s entrepreneurship. Such action would highlight the role of women as a main stakeholder in development and, in particular, in economic life, as the country moves forward and determines its future course. With regard to financial independence, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates issued a directive in September 2019 concerning gender equality, non-discrimination in financial transactions and access to credit. It instructed banks and financial institutions to provide services to their personal and business clients of either gender on an equal basis, without discrimination.
19.2.With regard to financial transactions, a directive has been circulated to all banks, financing companies and exchange bureaus active in the country concerning gender equality, non-discrimination in banking transactions and access to credit. With regard to the percentage of businesses run by women: according to 2020 statistics, there are some 25,000 businesswomen, and they handle investments worth over 60 billion dirhams in the country.
20.Please provide information on measures taken to combat poverty among and improve data collection with regard to rural women. Please also provide information on the participation of rural women in the design and development of policies, including on economic diversification and climate change, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation No. 34 (2016) on the rights of rural women. Please provide updated information on measures taken to implement legal, financial, media and information literacy programmes for rural women.
20.1.The question regarding the term “rural women” is not applicable to the situation in the country owing the environmental and geographic conditions, as the concept of women working in rural areas means that most of them depend on natural resources and agriculture to earn their living.
Women with disabilities
21.Please indicate new strategies and concrete measures put in place to ensure inclusive access to education, employment, health care and information on family planning and the right to enter into marriage for women with disabilities. Please also provide information on measures taken by the State party to include women and girls with disabilities in all policies and strategies intended to promote equal opportunities for women and men, in particular with regard to access to justice, protection against violence and access to poverty reduction programmes. Please also indicate how free and informed consent is ensured for women with disabilities prior to any medical treatment, as well as any existing exceptions to this universal right.
21.1.Care is taken to uphold equality between men and women when giving granting social care and determining eligibility conditions for people of determination. The amount disbursed is the same for disabled persons below the age of 18. Social protection and family empowerment constitute a component of the national strategy to empower people of determination. The aim is to ensure that their rights are not violated and that they are protected from exploitation and abuse. The Ministry of Community Development has put in place training programmes for women with disabilities. These consist of specific training and rehabilitation programmes aimed at protecting them from exploitation and abuse. As part of the Government’s accelerator programme, the Ministry of Community Development has worked with several authorities to tackle the challenge of cases of abuse of persons with determination. A sustainable approach has thus been formulated to provide support in such cases. That approach was based on a study of cases of abuse, including a tool for identifying the types of abuse to which persons with disabilities, particularly women, had been subjected. Further to that study, a series of training workshops on self-empowerment was held for women and girls with disabilities, and also for their guardians, with a view to raising awareness of potential forms of abuse.
21.2.In 2019, the Council of Ministers approved a policy to protect people of determination from abuse. It includes a component on early detection of abuse, which includes an initiative to protect women and girls of determination. The aim is to provide an oversight regime for service providers and hence to ensure the early detection of cases of abuse of persons with determination across institutions and facilities. A range of Government and local authorities and non-profit associations are working together towards that goal.
21.3.In 2021, the Government launched a national strategy on autism entitled “United for persons with autism”. It comprises five main components, namely diagnosis, health care, educational mainstreaming, human resources, and societal awareness and empowerment. It consists of initiatives intended to improve services provided to persons with autism of either gender. Those initiatives will help consolidate the rights of persons with autism, including girls, with regard to mainstreaming in general education, receiving high-quality health care, and enrolling in appropriate professional training and employment programmes.
21.4.In order to promote the access of women and girls with disabilities to appropriate work opportunities, the Ministry of Community Development launched the Mashaghel project by virtue of Ministerial Decision No. 396 (2019). The aim is to promote the employment of young women with mental disabilities aged over 18. The project is part of the national strategy to empower people of determination. Mashaghel gives young women with disabilities an opportunity to transition into integrated employment through specific employment projects. Mashaghel is divided into a set of professions and workshops, such as making jewellery from damaged banknotes, manufacturing chocolate and people-of-determination bracelets, and other individual projects. New electronic stores have been created to market those products and provide the young women with an income and economic independence. Mashaghel is distinctive in that it empowers young women to take control of themselves in accordance with their own wishes and capacities. Women who have the capacity to do so can thus manage their own projects. Through that form of self-employment, they can leave centres for people with determination and be mainstreamed into the workforce.
Marriage and family relations
22.Please provide information on measures taken to repeal discriminatory provisions relating to marriage, divorce, custody and legal guardianship of children, division of property and inheritance. Please provide information on steps taken to repeal or amend all sex-discriminatory legislation, including article 334 of the Personal Status Law, which currently allows de jure and de facto discrimination in inheritance. Please also update the Committee on measures taken to address the stigmatization of single mothers and provide support to them, including through social protection and child support schemes, paternity recognition procedures and the enforcement of alimony and maintenance obligations of ex-husbands and fathers of their children.
22.1.The Family Status Law in the United Arab Emirates regulates all matters of personal status, marriage, divorce, alimony, custody and inheritance. The Islamic sharia is the primary reference in such provisions. The disparity in the shares of male and female heirs in Islam is not, however, a function of being male or female. Rather, it is governed by three main criteria, namely the degree of kinship between the heir, whether male or female, and the deceased; the position of the heirs in the sequence of generations; and the financial burden which the Islamic sharia requires the heir to bear and fulfil for others. That is the only criterion that results in a disparity between male and female; but it is a disparity that does not cause women any injustice or unfair treatment. In fact, one could even say that the opposite is true. If the heirs have same degree of kinship and the same place in the sequence of generations, e.g. if they are children of the deceased, male or female, the different financial burden explains the different shares of the inheritance. The rationale for the difference is that the male is responsible for supporting his wife and their children. When a female heir is the sister of a mail heir, the latter has a duty to support her and her children. Despite the shortfall in her inheritance as compared to that of her brother, whose inheritance is double, she is in a more fortunate and privileged position in that her inheritance is free from obligatory expenses; it is net and can be saved in order to protect her from threats or adversity.
22.2.With regard to the recognition of paternity, Federal Law No. 1 (2012) concerning care for persons of unknown parentage includes the following points:
1.It regulates care for persons of unknown parentage in the country through the establishment and development of care homes and by providing for foster families that can offer medical, psychological, educational and recreational care.
2.The rights, civil liberty and confidentiality of persons of unknown personage are all guaranteed, as is their right to personal security and the need to safeguard the paramount interests of the child.
3.Persons of unknown parentage are protected from abuse, inhumane treatment and neglect.
4.They are provided with the social and living conditions necessary for their natural development.