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22 April 2024

No 1 question Dubai cultural centre gets asked about Emiratis: Why do women walk behind men?

By Majorie van Leijen

What is the question Emiratis are most asked by expats or tourists?

The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) would know, as it answers questions about Emirati lifestyle on a daily basis.

In an effort to identify, explain, and promote Emirati lifestyle, the centre draws on cultural traditions, historic background, religion, cuisine, or language and spreads this knowledge to whoever is interested to learn more about the UAE.

During activities such as heritage tours, cultural meals, educational programmes or mosque visits, participants are able to ask questions about anything that keeps them wondering.

And questions are surely asked: in 2012, the SMCCU held 1,237 activities, with an average of 25-30 questions asked per session.

“People from all over the world come to us with questions about local lifestyle,” said Debbie Jaunich, Technical Specialist and Presenter at the Centre.

Sometimes, the questions are somewhat odd, such as ‘What do you wear under your traditional dresses?’

Based on nearly 15 years of experience, the SMCCU recently listed the Top 10 questions asked, with their answers.

Emirates 24|7 has shared the top queries and their answers over the last couple of weeks.

Are all Emiratis rich? Are there still Bedouins in the UAE? And are women forced to wear the black abaya, were some of the questions.

In this week’s story the number one question the SMCCU gets asked is revealed.

Why do the women walk behind the men?

Answer by SMCCU:Some women walk behind men because of a couple of reasons. First, men naturally have a longer stride and may keep a faster pace than women.

Furthermore, in Islam men are given the responsibility as a protector and provider. The man walks in front of the woman to clear the way for a safe passage.

Call it chivalry if you like, but it is purely for the comfort of the woman. Simply put; the man cuts through the crowd for his lady.

From a cultural and social perspective, women are uncomfortable being followed by men, especially a strange man in a strange place. For example, when its windy, loose clothing tends to come up. Why to worry having to hold your skirt or abaya?

In the past, the Bedouins used walk in front of the women checking the sand and making sure there are no snakes and scorpions.

So, when it is appropriate it is best that the man walks in front of the woman.

However, when it comes to a husband and wife, we nowadays see them walking side by side, holding hands.

To read answers to more questions… Click here

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