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A court robe on top of the abaya

Publié le par Kyradubai

A court robe on top of the abaya

At 31 only, Ebtessam Al Badwawi is one the three first female judges of Dubai. She explains how it was such a responsibility to set an example for the next generation of female judges. She says how proud she is to be citizen of a country which developped women workforce in all fields, a real challenge in the Arab world. EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW.

« UAE proved it’s possible to empower women without compromising on Arabic heritage and culture »

‪Introduce yourself?

Name: Ebtessam Ali Rashid Al Badwawi

Age: 31 years old

Profession: Judge in Dubai Courts – Civil Court

‪Where did you study and what ?

Bachelor degree - Sharia & Law from UAE University

Master degree with distinction in private law – Dubai Police Academy.

‪How many years did you have to study and train?

10 years studying in training in law.

‪Since when are you judge ?

March, 2009.

How many female judges in Dubai ? In the UAE ?

3 female judges including me in Dubai, and I guess same number in Abu Dhabi.

You must be proud to live in a country where women reach such positions ?

Yes indeed. I’m proud to be a UAE citizen and to serve my country and to pay back as much as I can for the great support received from my leaders His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahayan “President of UAE” & His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President & Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai who is known to be a man who always inspired and empowered women to contribute to our society’s development, I really value his faith and trust on me to be the first Emarati’s Judge in history of Dubai.

Having said that, it’s worth mentioning that UAE government didn’t spare any efforts when it comes to developing UAE’s women workforce : starting from offering equal rights as males in education and employment. Eventually, that contributed for diversity of women’s skills and knowledge from almost all fields. We can see nowadays so many important posts and positions has been occupied by women “Ministers, Ambassadors, Parliament Members, Judges, Lawyers, Police Officers, Doctors, etc.”

It is a challenging exercise for an Arab country but UAE proved it’s possible to empower women without compromising on the main traditional Arabic heritage and culture.

‪How were you accepted by the men ?

People appreciate professionalism regardless of gender; especially in a well-educated working atmosphere. I have been welcomed from day one since I joined Dubai Courts; Justice was the main pillar of any court in the world so we don’t expect any gender discrimination in this sensitive area.

Any comments from male judges or male lawyers ?

Surprisingly, male judges and lawyers admire to see women in this field which was dominated by men.

‪Are things improving ?

Big time, especially at my work level, I have been acknowledged by Dubai Court for the great efforts and sincere dedication at my work. I was worried initially, because Government was expecting me to set a noble example for next generation of female Judges. As a result, we can see today three Judges in Dubai Courts and more are coming.

How did you change the way men look at you ?

Honestly, women are well respected in our society; she is the mother, the sister and the wife. Having her also at work is an added value for the prestigious positions she used to enjoy.

Why did you want to become a judge ?

My passion to study law and enthusiasm to work in legal field and the support from my father contributed to prepare me for this day, and of course the precious chance to prove myself and to fill this role by H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President & Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Was it difficult to reach that position ?

I won’t call it difficult; I will call it a challenge for any ambitious person who is willing to dedicate a truthful effort and time to achieve his objective.

‪Is there a lot of competition among women in the legal world ?

I’d rather see it as a lot of cooperation among women in the legal world.

Did you have any role models ?

Yes. H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President & Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

What is your mother doing as a profession ?

My Mum is an ordinary house wife. She devoted her life to ensure better education for her kids.

Your father ?

My father retried from army long time back, and dedicated his life to be close from his children, to ensure descent welfare and prosperity for his small family.

‪Do you have family members in the law field ?


‪What is your ambition ?

My ambition is to be a pioneer in the legal field and to raise my country name on international level.

Are you paid the same salary as a male judge ?


‪What was the reaction in your family and people around you when you said you wanted to become a judge ?

I wasn’t expecting to become a judge, my ambitious is limitless. To be a judge means you have accepted great responsibility that’s comes with this title.

‪What is the importance of religion in your life, in your work ?

Religion plays a very important role in everyone’s life, and the same applies to me.

‪Why do you like your job ?

I enjoy the fruit of my academic study in my current role.

Who is the most senior female judge ?

I believe Judge Kholoud Ahmed Juoan Al Dhaheri.

What criminal or civil actions women fight for ?

Men and women rights are equal in all laws with exception to inheritances, so there are no genuine reasons for women to fight for her rights, although UAE keep updating the laws whenever there are a need to do so.

Which criminal or civil actions are made against women ?

UAE Law punishes whoever abuse or prevent women from enjoying her freedom in UAE society. Our country always appreciates anyone who lives here irrespective of his/her nationality, religion or origin with continuously improving his/her welfare.

‪How is the implementation of Sharia evolving? Do you use other legal codes ?

UAE’s Law organizes all various transactions in the country, {Commercial, Civil, Criminal or personal related cases}. Bearing in mind, that legislation in UAE is constantly evolving to cater all new business deals and civil contemporary locally and internationally.

Is there a difference implementing sharia to men and women ?

It’s equal between men and women except in inheritance. Islamic regulations gave men twice the women rights in inheritance, a man being sole responsible to spend on his own home. Besides all women fall under his supervision and circle whether his mum, sisters, wife, daughters.. .etc. That’s doesn’t mean less rights granted for women but more respect for her by assigning men in her family to serve her

‪Do men and women have the same rights according to the law ?


How would you define women’s rights here ? As wide as in the West ? Different ?

Women’s have full rights : the right to speech, to express her thoughts and to enjoy her freedom without offending people surrounding her and in line with the cultural codes and ethics.

‪What are the prison conditions for women ?

I might not have a full picture about the prison condition for women, however I truly believe it’s compatible with her nature, as per the international standards and there is a training center for her different skills. There are prisons for women in each emirate.

What improvements society must do for women ?

More community centers with active programs to utilize women energies in a more effective and productive manner. We need continuous programs to guaranty women qualify for senior roles in the country.

What do you wish for the next generation of girls ?

I encourage them to focus on education, on subject related to their interests; they have no more excuses for not achieving their ambitions.

Describe your day in Court?

Preparation, attending law sessions, discussions, writing court decisions and meeting to improve our progress.

‪How do you dress as a judge?

Court Robe “On top of my abaya” is a must protocol before I attend any legal session.

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