Parental Control and Career Decision-making Among Arab Women in the United Arab Emirates


This article draws on an analysis of interviews with a group of young women from diverse Arab backgrounds in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to examine the roles their parents played in their higher education and career decision-making (CDM). A constructivist grounded theory (CGT) methodology guided the study and enabled the examination of the career decision-making experiences of these women within their wider sociocultural context. Parents were found to play significant roles in co-constructing career decisions with their daughters. These decisions were joint and interactive where career goals and the means of attaining them were shared and negotiated, however, generally under the control and direction of parents. This article aims to demonstrate the implicit and explicit ways in which parents controlled their daughters’ CDM, and how this occurred within the parameters of gendered and cultural conformity. The article concludes with recommendations for education policymakers in the UAE, particularly in regard to involving parents in career guidance programs in order to help young women actualize their career goals.


Parental control, Arab women, Career decision-making, UAE

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