A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, May 14, 2010

Abu Dhabi's Highest Ranking Female Cop

At least until late afternoon, I'm going to be tied up volunteering to help out with "colonial day" at my daughter's grade school. I hope to have more posts before the end of the day, though. (Later: The hope wasn't fulfilled. I'm off for the weekend, barring something major.)

But to get you going, an inspirational article about Abu Dhabi's highest ranking female police officer, Lt. Col. Eman al Jaberi, the only female lecturer at the Abu Dhabi Police College, holder of a doctorate in law, and, obviously, a Lieutenant Colonel of Police.

I know, I know. The article is full of sterotypical and condescending stuff, though I suspect it means well. Examples:

“They immediately stopped and realised that who was standing in front of them was not a weak woman, but a military figure as adequate as any of my male counterparts,” she said.

“After that, I started using a motherly approach with them, so they turned to obedience out of love.

“I treat them like my own children and guide them to success. I used to have one son, but now I feel that the thousands that graduate each year are all my children. During graduation they address me as ‘my mother’.” . . .

“The toughest job I ever had was dealing with other women,” she said.

“Females do not like to be supervised by another female – they prefer men. It was a maze. If I were kind to them, they would consider me weak, and if I tried to be smart or strict they would rebel.”
But this is the Gulf. That a woman has reached a lieutenant colonelcy in the police is worth noting, even if the newspaper account has a whiff of the condescension of Boswell's conversation with Dr Samuel Johnson:
I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. Johnson: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."
Though at least the article isn't that condescending. In fact, brava for her putting up with all she must have had to put up with.

More after Colonial Day, I hope.

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