Blog Entry

Emirati Men Shun Women who study abroad

Saturday, 10 July 2010 by PD , under ,

I read this article in the The National yesterday and it claimed Emirati Men shun Women who study abroad:
DUBAI // Emirati women are having second thoughts about studying abroad for fear that being perceived as “westernised” will damage their chances of finding a husband back home.
Emirati women, men and parents who were interviewed by The National said society considered women who had studied in the West to be undignified, damaging their chances of attracting an Emirati spouse.

Such perceptions, whether valid or not, tend to lead young Emiratis, as well as their parents, to question themselves and their motives carefully before going abroad for an average of four years. They feel that they may lose their culture and heritage while being educated in a foreign country. 

This sparked a very interesting discussion with my Emirati and Non-Emirati khaleejy friends. Although I'm not Emirati myself, I can still somewhat relate to this coming from a Muslim / traditional background.

I have mixed views about this. To an extent I can understand where the Men are coming from. When i've gotten proposals with the potential having a background of having studied or lived abroad for a while I'm automatically a little hesitant because I don't know what he could've done in those years. Don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming that anyone who goes abroad to the West to study becomes 'corrupted' and leaves his or her traditional values, but that there are chances of it happening more. One would argue, you can do all that and more in a place like Dubai too but the difference would be that finding out would be much easier.

On the other hand, completely shunning Women because they've studied abroad is I think a little too harsh. Not everyone who goes abroad loses their culture/religion. And therefore people should be given the benefit of the doubt and seen if they're compatible regardless of one spouse having studied abroad. There is nothing wrong with being exposed to different cultures as long as you are firm in your beliefs.

Some of my Emirati friends are Women who have studied abroad and they still hold fast to their culture and religion. In fact, I know girls who have lived here all their life and are more corrupt.

In conclusion, this stigma should not exist in any society. Yes, I could understand hesitancy but steps should be taken to understand each other better and base marriage on compatibility and understanding instead of a generalisation. 

17 Responses to 'Emirati Men Shun Women who study abroad'

10 July 2010 at 11:29

Comment by Al-ain Rose.

I will blog about it ........

12 July 2010 at 10:35

Some of my Emirati friends are Women who have studied abroad and they still hold fast to their culture and religion. In fact, I know girls who have lived here all their life and are more corrupt.

True, I know those types. I also knew khaleeji girls in the US who attended SWINGER parties and had group sex EVERY weekend.

But ON AVERAGE, those who do travel to the west are more likely to become, as the paper put it, undignified.

All that aside, today in 2010, there isnt any reason to leave the UAE for education unless its a Ph.D. program. We have many good unis here now. in 98ish.. We didnt. Especially not in Abu Dhabi.

But the title of the story is the most important thing. They arent saying this is a fad or a view. ITS FACT.

And those girls who do choose to go off to the US or Europe and become (basically) whores in the eyes of their possible future husbands will end up 40, unmarried, and crying about it. And they have that choice, just as the majority of UAE men have the choice (and exercise it) not to marry girls who might or might not have whored themselves out once upon a time.

Its simple.

I have someone working on a post on this issue as well. Nice new blog.

12 July 2010 at 23:06

Comment by Leena S.

its not only about emirati men, its quite the same in Pakistan. no one really believes that you could live alone in a foreign country and not have been corrupted. I mean, I get judged because of it all the time. Having lived in the UK alone, I have 'seen' quite a lot and i didnt need to go to a bar to see all that. it was all out in the open but if i say i have seen that, there is a 99.99% chance that the person i would be talking to would assume that i have experimented that myself. But then I cmfrt myself by thinking that i stayed away from all that crap for Allah and not for the people.

13 July 2010 at 05:00

Comment by H.

Agreed with Leena. Same in Pakistan. Though I wish people thought otherwise.

Going abroad can also open up your eyes, make you more cautious about the haraam that exists in the world instead of living in a bubble. It can also make corrupted people un-corrupt (and I'm not talking about minimal cases - I know alot of people becoming un-corrupt), make you maybe even more traditional.

Moreover, living abroad increases a sense of responsibility in both a man and a woman in terms of realizing the value of money, work around the house and corporate work - basically a better understanding of a man and a woman's responsibility after marriage - however the spouse's choose to split up their responsibilities. All this eventually helps those getting married realize the actual hardship that goes into building a family - the real life.

Again, I wish people thought differently.

13 July 2010 at 09:51

Comment by PD.


Waiting for it =)

UB: I agree that it happens and therefore even my hesitance on anyone who has lives abroad for a while.

At the same time though, i think instead of just branding a whole group of people like that, more 'research' should be done on an individual level before jumping to conclusions.

As H put it, some people even become more religious when they go abroad. And not everyone works/thinks the same way.

Anyway, waiting for the blog-post =)

13 July 2010 at 09:56

Comment by PD.

Leena & H:

Yes, exactly. There are those who actually become more religious or steadfast in their traditions.

I guess this is a situation where there is a 50/50 chance and you dont really know.

13 July 2010 at 10:19

At the same time though, i think instead of just branding a whole group of people like that, more 'research' should be done on an individual level before jumping to conclusions.

I agree. Yes, BUT generalizing is easier. And humans are lazy by nature.

There is also a sense of "why should I bother' among us Emarati men. Why should I bother doing this research when I can marry any one of these 20 girls who havent been abroad. Again, there are many more Emarati girls than guys, we have on average a choice of 10-20 girls to choose from, the girls dont. They have or 4, mostly family or family friends.

I can afford to be picky, the girls cant, and we KNOW this. lol.

Personally, I would never marry someone who lived alone even in the same country. Say a girl who lived in the dorms in Al Ain... I'm a firm believer that a woman shouldnt be outside of the house without her mother, aunt, or a mehrim. PERIOD. Even in an all girls dorm.

A girl who will willingly travel to God knows where without a family member, just that action in and of it's self, might be haram (depending on who you ask,) and so why would I bother even to consider a girl who is gladly partaking in haram issues/actions?

No, Ill take my chances in the one who hasnt.

13 July 2010 at 10:21

I guess this is a situation where there is a 50/50 chance and you dont really know.

I'd say its more like a 70/30 chance.

For girls who havent been outside its a 50/50.

As with most things in the UAE, alot can be told by a person's last name, including how "decent" or "undignified" the girl is.

31 August 2010 at 05:06

Comment by Amna Al Haddad.

Hi all, I am looking forwad to write a follow-up piece on this issue ( I am the author of the article published in The National about a month ago.)

If you have any interesting ideas/anecdotes/strong opinions and expriences...e-mail me please:


18 September 2010 at 05:48

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9 June 2011 at 05:49

Comment by Bradly Jones.

A smart woman means an independent woman, which cannot be told what to do at any point in time. That could be viewed as a negative quality, but these same women will be able to raise their children better than uneducated women as well as increase the family income hence making things easier for the husband. i think that they shun them because such women won't share their man with other women.

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