Emirati women appear to be paying the price of openness and collapse of social barriers as they have become much less productive in terms of births. A new government study released in Dubai shows their fertility rate has dived to 2.3 from 5.7 births per each woman.
The study by the Dubai Health Authority showed the fertility rate among expatriate women is as low as 1.7 births per each woman.
Experts in the study attributed the sharp decline to growing job opportunities for women in the UAE, which had previously barred females from jobs in most sectors because of social barriers.
The study, published in the Arabic language daily Emarat Alyoum, showed the average fertility rate among Emirati females now stands at 2.3 births per woman compared with 5.7 births previously.
“The reason for this decline is that women could be prone to chemical emissions at some job sites and this is affecting their public health and consequently their fertility,” said Dr Mansour Habib, a family medicine and vocational health specialist in Dubai.
“Other women are subject to strong physical pressure and effort due to long work hours, driving cars and job pressures…besides, there are psychological pressures as a result of stress and pressure exerted by their managers and senior employees…many women live in the fear that they might lose their job and this normally affects their public health.”
He said many working women also prefer to delay getting pregnant so they can fulfill their job ambitions. “Once they decide it is time to get pregnant, they discover that the delay has negatively impacted their fertility.”