It is not a region known for its promotion of equal rights for women.
However, a 28-year-old woman from Dubai has struck a blow for her Arabic sisters after becoming a train driver for the city’s Metro system.
Not only is Mariam Al Safar the first female in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to get behind the controls of a train – she is also the first in the Middle East.
Her feat is all the more impressive when you consider women are arrested in Saudi Arabia for driving a car.
Miss Al Safar, a native Emirati, is one of a select few UAE residents qualified to get behind the controls of a Dubai Metro train – and is the only woman, it was reported.
The network, which is described as the most advanced in the world is primarily an unmanned automatic driving system, which is operated from a centralised control room.
However, in the event of system repairs or an accident, it needs manual operation.
Miss Al Safar told Gulf News: ‘I am always open to challenges and I am not afraid to take risks. I work hard and my job is my top priority.’
She added: ‘Being a train attendant has helped me understand how to interact with people and staff from different nationalities and different cultures. This has empowered me to tackle different kinds of situations with ease.’ More info and photos