Call for building a resort exclusively for women in Dubai

Presence of on-site construction workers and the open visibility of residential balconies along Jumeirah Open Beach lead to women-only resort.

By Kelly Clarke/staff Reporter

Published: Tue 23 Jun 2015, 11:44 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:09 PM

Dubai - The nearby presence of on-site construction workers and the open visibility of residential balconies along Jumeirah Open Beach have led to a call for a women’s-only resort or Island in Dubai – and it’s a privilege some are willing to pay upwards of Dh500 for the privilege.

“For me, access to secure, women’s-only beaches is not limited, it’s non-existent. Yes, we have dedicated days at Al Mamzar Beach Park and Dubai Ladies Club but I do not feel they are 100 per cent private. If we want to make a change, we need to speak up,”  Nisrin Al Harmoodi told Khaleej Times.

Born and raised in Dubai, Al Harmoodi said she supports 100 per cent the idea of a ‘women’s-only’ resort or Island, but said the question of ‘how much’ should not even come into it.

“It should be our right as women to have facilities like this at hand. I shouldn’t be a paying customer. In my country it should be my privilege. But it’s not just Muslim women who want these beaches, it’s a request by women from mixed nationalities,” she said.

In October 2014, Ladies’ Day on Jumeirah Park Beach was scrapped as construction of the Dubai Canal Project commenced.  The cancellation left just one Ladies’ Day at Al Mamzar Beach Park in Deira,

However, speaking to Khaleej Times on Sunday, Dubai Municipality’s Head of Parks at the Parks and Horticulture Department, Mohammed Al Fardan, said the increased demand from the public led to the allocation of two ladies-only days at the park - Monday and Wednesday. So, could this new demand for a women’s-only resort or Island soon kick-start the development of one here?

“I truly hope so,” Emirati national, Fatima Satar said.

But unlike Al Harmoodi, she is happy to pay for the privilege.

“Al Mamzar is fine but it’s too far to travel too. We need a nice, long beach along Jumeirah, maybe even a resort. I would be willing to pay Dh500 for all day access to somewhere like that,” she said.

However, though Al Fardan agreed privacy on beaches is still “an issue” for some women, plans for the future are unclear.

“As of now there is no plan for increased women-only access to parks or beaches from Dubai Municipality, but later on we may get back Jumeirah Beach Park following completion of the Roads and Transport Authority’s construction works,” he said.

Addressing the concerns of some of the city’s women, Dubai Ladies Club Director, Lamia Abdulaziz Khan, said it was “interesting, but not surprising” to hear of calls for a women’s-only resort or Island, but said the Club is “working constantly” to ensure 100 per cent privacy for its visitors.

“We have built two barriers along both ends of our 200-metre stretch beach to block all visibility from the construction work currently underway to install water breakers in our waters. This should be complete by September, at which time the barriers will come down,” she said.

So, alongside the world’s tallest building and the world’s largest man-made island, could Dubai soon house the world’s largest man-made-for-women Island? Only time will tell.

(Nakheel was contacted for the story but refused to comment on the issue).

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