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Exploring career choices of Emirati women in the technology sector

Liza Howe-Walsh (Business and Law School, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)
Sarah Turnbull (Business and Law School, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)
Saleena Khan (Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Nagpur, India)
Vijay Pereira (Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance

ISSN: 2051-6614

Article publication date: 18 March 2020

Issue publication date: 31 March 2020




The study aims to explore the factors that influence Emirati women's career choice in the UAE. This study contributes to the influence of context in career choices by investigating how Emirati women chose information technology (IT) as a profession through the lens of the social cognitive career theory.


This study undertook in-depth interviews with 21 Emirati women working in technology in the UAE. The study considers women's career choices at three levels, i.e. from an individual, organisational and national context perspective.


The key findings include identifying the importance of national context in influencing career choices among other factors such as family centrality, desire to be seen as a role model, company reputation and government policy.

Practical implications

The study has wider implications for women's career choices in other contexts. The findings highlight the challenges women face, such as a lack of role models and family centrality, which need to be considered in recruitment policies and practices in other national contexts.


The originality of the study is its contribution to the literature developing understanding of the influences on women's career choices in the Emirates. While previous studies have identified the role of patriarchal influence on women's careers, we have less understanding of the importance attributed to individual factors such as being perceived as a role model within their family and to society. Similarly, the literature provides limited evidence of the influence of factors such as government sponsorship and company reputation.



Howe-Walsh, L., Turnbull, S., Khan, S. and Pereira, V. (2020), "Exploring career choices of Emirati women in the technology sector", Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 96-114.



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