The Role of Emirati Women during the Covid-19 Pandemic and the Challenges

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Using a qualitative methodology of personal interviews and participant observation, this research investigates the role of Emirati women in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent impact/challenges. Research participants included female Emirati health care workers and educationists. We observed Emirati families to help better understand the challenges women went through during the pandemic. Contrary to existing narratives about the invisibility, docility, marginalization, victimhood, and dependency of Arab women, this research reveals that Emirati women were able to exercise agency in the fight against the pandemic due to the following factors: longstanding government empowerment of women, a sense of patriotism, supportive male relatives, and female dominance in the health and educational sectors. During the pandemic, Emirati women have contributed in the following ways as: volunteers; international aid workers; care givers; health information agents; and virtual teachers. Despite this, challenges abound because of the following: increased family conflict; domestic violence; the psychological toll of Covid-related deaths; economic challenges; and increased domestic responsibilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-56
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of International Women's Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Agency
  • Covid-19
  • Emirati women
  • Empowerment
  • Frontline
  • Pandemic
  • Society
  • State

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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