GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Globalization and the Employment of Women with Disabilities in the UAE
Paper Proposal Text :
The rights of people with disabilities were formally recognized in the UAE by the introduction of Federal Law No. 29/2006 which guarantees their access to equal opportunities of education and employment. This recognition has its foundation in the UAE constitution, which guarantees equality and social justice for all citizens regulated by welfare and social security legislations. Globalization has opened new frontiers for a young nation like the UAE, where it is currently recognizable as a major hub for finance, investment and tourism. It has also made some major advances in joining the UN human rights movements such as signing and ratifying the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities.
Clearly, the government of the UAE has established the foundation for securing the employment rights for both men and women with disabilities, yet policies still need to be enacted with proper legislations and instruments in order to become binding for public and private employers. The Ministry of Social Affairs has been given the responsibility, among other national organizations, to translate the law into initiatives, plans and programs of action to build a partnership among the government, civil society and private sectors in order to promote the values of social responsibility. Numerous initiatives have managed to coordinate with institutions, both public and private, to provide suitable employment opportunities for both men and women with disabilities. However, these initiatives are still at an early stage compared to the challenges presented by the fact that Dubai alone has an estimated 5,452 registered people with disabilities. Furthermore, figures provided by the Ministry of Social Affairs of the 2008 census illustrate that the number of students in rehabilitation centers across Dubai and the Northern Emirates, who are possibly ready for employment, is estimated to be 1,243, of which more than 50% are females.
This paper aims at investigating the challenges to the employment of women with disabilities in the UAE. The methodology followed in this study is qualitative based on a social constructivist paradigm. The experiential nature of women with disabilities in the UAE is illustrated through a dialogic and narrative approach, through open ended interviews with four Emirati females with different disabilities, who are currently holding full time jobs in a various positions ranging from leadership to supported employment. The interviews revolved around their educational and employment experiences in the current global market. It identified the traditional barriers of social stigma resulting from gender and disability in a traditional male dominated society. Additionally, it examined the barriers of entry resulting from globalization such as the increasing levels of competition in the employment market due to outsourcing and automation which makes supported employment for people with disabilities and particularly women less attractive to employers. However, it also recognized that globalization has positively influenced community awareness of disabilities. And has created new job opportunities for people with disabilities through modern assisted technologies and ease of communication.

The paper concludes with a set of recommendations addressing the need to create new models of flexible employment and rehabilitation that will allow more women with disabilities access to opportunities in the global market that overcome both social and ability barriers.