All the information below is provided by Pink Pangea community members based on their experiences abroad. Add your voice!
Feminine Hygienic Products
All the same products that we have in the US are available at supermarkets and pharmacies.
The pill is surprisingly available over the counter at pharmacies and very inexpensive! Condoms are also available on the shelves at pharmacies however the shelf is sometimes labeled “Men’s Shelf.”
Very similar to a home experience. However, you might want to find a western gynecologist to speak to about pre-marital sex since it is illegal in this country.
Expats date openly. There is no kissing in public for anyone of any faith. Dating is very common. Dating between local Emirati men and expat women is very rare, but I have seen this before. Look out for men who are only looking for a holiday fling or who are married.
Sadly, it’s illegal in the UAE. However, there are openly gay men and women in the expat community.
Local women must wear the traditional abaya which covers their entire body. This is probably the clearest difference. Many are married with children at a very young age.
Women and men pray separately. They also attend weddings separately. There are women-only cars on the metro to make women more comfortable. I have also seen some waiting rooms in government facilities be split off.
Perception of American Women
I have never been mistreated because of where I am from.
Taxis are common and inexpensive. They are very safe for women. However, be careful taking a taxi alone with a man at night. I have heard horror stories of being dropped off at the police station. Of course they are only stories! The metro is also cheap and somewhat convenient. You might get a few stares on a local bus.
Shady Areas for Women
I feel safe in all areas of Dubai. I can’t speak for the rest of the UAE.
Dress respectfully. In malls and other public places, it is best to not wear short shorts or skimpy tops. They ask that you cover your knees and shoulders, but I think in the touristy areas, modesty is key. You can dress however you’d like on the beach, of course nuditiy is forbidden. The dress code is much more lax at clubs and bars as many women are seen wearing similar clothing to bars in the western world.
I am big on maxi skirts and dresses here, and I usually carry a cardigan because everyone is freezing from the AC, or just in case I am somewhere where I feel I should cover my shoulders.