Work-Life Balance, Family Culture and Women’s Leadership in the UAE

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Women's empowerment and women's leadership are important in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In the recently developed National Strategy for the Empowerment of Emirati Women (UNESCO, 2016), the UAE government emphasizes the support and empowerment of women in the workplace and society. Emirati women have greatly benefitted from the steps taken by the UAE government to empower women. As a result, the country now has the world's highest rate of female representation in the Federal Parliament and a growing number of women entering the workforce (Fyfe, 2013). However, there is still room for greater numbers of women in positions of leadership in the UAE. In addition, some have expressed concern regarding the high employment turnover rate for Emirati women, which is influenced by job satisfaction, quality of work-life (Jabeen et al., 2018a), and the work-life balance of Emirati women (Nanjiani & Dahlstrom, 2017). Therefore, more research on these topic of women’s advancement in the UAE and other Arab nations is needed. This study intends to assess the influence of work-life balance and the role of women's family culture on women's attainment of leadership positions in the UAE. The study adopts a mixed methodology, beginning with the collection of quantitative data from a questionnaire focused on the factors that influence their work-life balance using a non-probability sampling technique from 58 Emirati women leaders. Data gathered from the quantitative study was analyzed using the statistical package for social science (SPSS.v.25). The second part of the research utilizes qualitative interviews to explore more about UAE women’s perspectives on work-life balance and the influence of the family culture on attainment of leadership positions. The qualitative data was collected from 12 Emirati leaders who complete the initial quantitative survey through a semi-structured interview. The NVivo (v.12) software program was used to code the qualitative interviews. The findings of this study revealed that women leaders in the UAE face various challenges, including gender bias, male-dominated occupations, cultural norms, sociocultural beliefs, "wasta" in procuring jobs, and lack of support (family and organizational). The results of this study will provide information about the factors that influence Emirati women's leadership in the UAE, which may help leaders and policymakers identify future areas of focus for the goal of empowering women in the country.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Business Administration
Leadership, Women's Studies