Sunday, January 21, 2007

Emirati women want to choose husband as educated as themselves

Gulf News today:
Abu Dhabi: Sixty-three per cent of UAE national men favour traditional marriages, while 71 per cent of UAE national women prefer to choose their husbands themselves, according to a recent study conducted by university students on the issue of marriage.

The study was conducted by Salwa Fouad, Khowla Ahmad and Lamia Ahmad, communication and media sciences students at Zayed University, as part of their graduation project, reported Notes which is published today.
. . .
Students surveyed 200 Emiratis and visited the Abu Dhabi Courts to gather statistics and literature.

The study showed that about 70 per cent of UAE nationals get married for religious reasons. It also indicated that 63 per cent of Emirati women refuse to marry a man with a poorer education than them.

However, 74 per cent of UAE national men said that they would marry women of higher education standards. It also showed that "being religious" was the number one quality men and women look for in a spouse.

Eighty per cent of women and 76 per cent of men agreed that dowry is not an indication of the bride's position and value. This is particularly relevant considering the expensive wedding parties and dowries that are part of UAE national weddings.

Considering that "National females constituted 71.2 per cent of national higher education graduates in the academic year 2002-03 and 68.6 per cent in 2003-04" the reluctance of women to marry men with less education could explain many concerns in the UAE:

- spinsterhood,
- the size of dowries, that is brides prices (to offset lack of education)
- national men marrying nonnationals,
- small number of children per woman (small relative to public policy aims), and
- the "demographic imbalance" (the euphemism for the large proportion of the population which is non-national).

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