Popular misconceptions on working women corrected

SHARJAH - It is a popular misconception that women contribute to the unemployment of men by entering the job market, and because of their sensitivity to work pressure, they also jeopardise their family's stability, said Dr Rawda Abdulla Al Metawee, The Chairperson of Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council and one of the founders of the first women association in Ras Al Khaimah in 1967.

By Lina Abdul Rahman

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Published: Sat 17 Apr 2004, 1:42 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:01 PM

Dr Al Metawee was recently chosen and awarded by The Chairperson of Sharjah Family Supreme Council and Sharjah Women's Club, Her Highness Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, as one of the country's pioneering women who played significant role in developing and contributing to the nation's prosperity.

Talking to Khaleej Times Dr Al Metawee highlighted the positive impact of women entering the job market on their family's stability and that people should rectify the misconception that work for women means instability in their families.

"Unfortunately, various forms of media contribute to confirming the misconception, and there are usually three wrong perceptions among the Arab society in particular. The first perception is the conservative notion which perceives women as weak human beings who are obliged to perform limited tasks such as raising children and cooking, and that women should not be in any other place but the home. People who hold such beliefs usually think that working women will have to mingle and communicate with male strangers which is considered a violation against religious norms."

"Secondly, the Arab society acknowledges women's right to work provided that they are engaged in such careers as education, tailoring and nursing while other careeers are considered a taboo for women. The third perception is more liberal in the sense that it gives both men and women equal rights to work in various fields. It asserts that women are equally capable in performing any task and that they are more creative, enthusiastic and devoted to work compared to men."

"Any Arab country will not witness productivity and development if women are not granted equal rights and opportunities to work in their fields of interest where they can excel in," Dr Al Metawee said.

She added that in a few years UAE has witnessed a drastic increase in the number of females entering the job market and occupying various challenging carees and that women should be encouraged to work as they can make a significant contribution to their country's development and prosperity.

"I can refute certain claims that children of working mothers will be adversely affected by the latter's absence. The negative impact of the absence of working mothers in their homes is in fact less than the adverse effects on children's attitude and behaviour being brought by changes and developments in the surrounding world which the mother's presence or abscence has nothing to do with it," Dr Al Metawee stressed.

She explained that a mother staying at home will be spending most of her time shopping, sleeping and being dependent on the family's maid to perform household chores, including raising her children. "On the contrary to a mother who is a housewife, a working mother is a qualified and educated person who will allocate her time equally between work and her children and will endeavour to suceed in life. She will be more aware of her responsibility as a parent responsible to raise her children in the right manner and teach them to be independent."

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