Ladies Only

Girl power in the UAE

I was reminded this morning while visiting the car registration centre how lucky women are to enjoy such a VIP status in Dubai.

As DH and I skipped to the front of the queue – thanks to the fact I’m female – we shaved a good 15 minutes off this otherwise tiresome chore. Don’t mind if we do! Result.

Ladies Only

When we first arrived in the UAE, it seemed odd to me that there were certain days when men weren’t allowed in the park. I lost count of the number of times we turned up at one of Dubai’s lush green public parks to find it was Ladies’ Day, giving DH a water-tight excuse to sneak off for a shawarma sandwich and a coffee while I schlepped inside to chase two hyperactive kiddos around. “Have fun,” he’d say with a cheery wave. “Keep an eye on your phone,” I’d tell him, through gritted teeth.

Our first villa was located in a compound where the facilities were segregated. There was a women-only indoor pool and gym, and next door an identical set-up for the men.

Now I take it for granted that women in the UAE are given numerous advantages. There are frustrations that’ll make you spit, but there are also women-only queues (which are much shorter) at government offices, ‘pink’ taxis with lady drivers, and Metro carriages exclusively for women and children (a God-send during rush hour).

In Abu Dhabi, the Al Wahda Mall has introduced a women’s only parking section, which is usually fairly empty and close to the door. And I can’t blog about the UAE being a great place for women without mentioning Ladies’ Nights at the city’s bars and clubs – an expat institution allowing women to enjoy a night out without spending a dime.

It all means I can say, with all honesty, to those overseas who don’t know the UAE: Yes we can drive. No, we don’t have to cover. And yes, we love our ladies’ only perks.