UAE: First Female Marriage Official in United Arab Emirates

A Muslim woman on Thursday became the first ever female allowed to conduct marriages in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates and throughout the conservative Gulf, the official WAM news agency reported.
It said Fatima Saeed Obeid al-Awani, 33, a married mother of two boys, was named to the post in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi by the justice ministry.
Awani's appointment as "maazoun" -- a job traditionally held by men -- is aimed at "bolstering the role of women in society... in line with Emirati laws and without violating sharia" Muslim law, the agency said.

Awani holds a degree in theology from the faculty of law of the University of the Emirates.

She now becomes the first woman to be allowed to write up marriage contracts throughout the conservative Gulf, but she is not the first woman "maazoun" in an Arab state -- Egypt has already broken ground in that area.

In March Abu Dhabi got its first woman judge and in February the number of women in the cabinet was doubled to four. Last year Abu Dhabi got its first female Emirati taxi driver.

14 November 2008

Source: AFP