It’s common to witness Dubai bashing in the international media but when one comes across a report like this in Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/britchick-paris/why-dubai-is-rapidly-beco_b_3156110.html#postComment

one is indeed pleasantly surprised.

More than anything else what struck me most in the article is the following paragraph:

Dubai allows you to be you. And controversially especially if you are a woman. I’m not the only woman to think that. I feel safer here in Dubai than I do in London or Paris. There is a healthy respect that means you are just left alone, so long as you in turn respect the local values and customs.

Also in Europe there is often an underlying chauvinism, that means that men can do it better, hence the paucity of women board members at big Western companies. Here from my experience and that of my entrepreneur friends, women in business are admired. I can hear all the cynics ready to wade in but I cannot refute the evidence I have from the last few weeks working here. It has been a breath of fresh air. Not to mention the openness and creativity that comes from a city that is exploding and growing at lightening speed. In ten years it has achieved what New York did in 150.

This egged me to write about what I know about the city living here for the last six years.

Ask any woman from any nationality if they feel safe living in or travelling to Dubai the answer will always be “yes” without a second thought.

Without any statistics at hand it might be a bit hard to explain why the answer is always so but I will try to do so with a few examples.

When I first moved to Dubai in 2007 my husband and I would go for after-dinner walks to the Dubai Creek which is 20 minutes from my home. One day while sitting there and enjoying the lovely view we never realized it was 1am. It was a weekday and the place was empty except for a few men sitting around here and there in twos and threes chatting amongst themselves.

I looked around and told my husband fearfully, “Do you think it’s safe to hang around here so late?”

He said, “Don’t worry, Dubai is totally safe for women. The longer you live here the better you will know.”

That’s when I spotted an abaya and sheyla-clad lady walking rigorously in her sneakers – all alone.  Coming from India, where a woman’s safety is a perpetual concern, this was quite an impossible scenario for me. Six years down the line I have not yet experienced a lone walk at Dubai Creek at 1 am but I have comfortably walked alone at 12am to the 24X7 supermarket in my neighbourhood to fetch something, I have driven back home from the outskirts of the city at 2am after an office party taking a detour to drop a female friend on the way. I have hailed a cab post-midnight and reached home safe and sound lost in conversation with a friendly cabbie, and I have walked back home from a friend’s place all alone pretty late in the night.

Men and women hang out at a cafe in Dubai. many cafes are open till 4am or through the night.

Men and women hang out at a cafe in Dubai. Many cafes are open till 4am or through the night.

In the neighbourhood where I live, it is not uncommon to see women coming back home from work really late, mixed or even all men’s groups sitting around and chatting in the cafés late in the night. Nobody will give you a second look, nobody will try to follow you, make passes at you, hassle you with lewd comments.

In India we are always looking over our shoulders, something we hardly have to do here. So when something happens in Dubai it always comes as a shock.

Does this mean crime against women does not exist in Dubai?

Not at all. With 120 nationalities living together in a metropolis it is inevitable crime will exist and one gets to read about sexual crimes against women in the newspapers often. Dubai is also fighting human trafficking and domestic violence is also one of the issues here. But one has to admit that the rate of crime is much lower in Dubai compared to other cities.

Teenage girls move around the city comfortably

Teenage girls move around the city comfortably

Women are as comfortable in western clothes as they are in traditional ethnic wear

Women are as comfortable in western clothes as they are in traditional ethnic wear

Moving around the city late in the night is not an issue at all

Moving around the city late in the night is not an issue at all

Then how is Dubai safe?

For me it is safe because every time I step out of my home I don’t have be constantly on my guard. I come from Kolkata where I am used to being groped, commented and stared at all the time. That way Dubai comes as a breath of fresh air for me. I can be myself, wear whatever clothes I want, not worry about attracting too much attention in my short skirt, go for after-dinner-walks at 11pm with my son and travel comfortably in public transport. And also, the same Indians who misbehave back home are civil here.

Police has a major role to play

The police here provides an amazing safety net for women by efficiently patrolling the city 24×7. Be sure to spot a Dubai Police patrol wherever you go. If a woman dials 999 for help they will be there in two minutes. And most importantly the Dubai police force command respect and fear among the people for their commitment. Unlike in India, where bribes can settle matters with the police, that is unthinkable here.

Another thing that keeps women in Dubai safe is the inevitability of punishment. There is no escaping that. A British woman was raped and kidnapped by three men last July. They were eventually caught and in eight months the verdict was out and they are now in jail. Justice is delivered quickly and efficiently.

Read her story here:


Recently an intoxicated Pakistani bus driver tried to rape an American lady tourist in an empty bus only to be beaten up by her. She escaped from the bus and reported the incident to the police. The man has been arrested and the court proceedings have already started. I will not be surprised if the case is settled quickly. Read about it here:


In this regard I would like to share an incident that put my friend in a tricky situation. This happened a few years back when she had just moved to Dubai alone. She and another friend were returning home late from a party when some men in a four-wheel started tailing them. They drove around town trying to shake them off but to no avail. Then after much deliberation they called the police. The officer on patrol duty immediately came to their rescue, did not ask them why they were out so late, escorted them home and needless to say, nabbed the men immediately.

Dubai Police patrolling the city

Dubai Police patrolling the city

My friends with teenage daughters growing up here say that they are less worried about them when they go out for their tuitions or to meet friends than they would have been had they been in India.

That day a friend asked, “What is it you will miss about Dubai when you move back to Kolkata?”

My instant reply was, “I will miss venturing out of my home, even at unearthly hours, without a care in the world.”

When I move back to Kolkata I guess I will have to sharpen my claws all over again.

(Photographs: Amrita Mukherjee)

  1. Subbu says:

    Awesome article and very true!!!

  2. Zeeshahn says:

    So well written and very true! Dubai has given us all a sense of security which we long in a place called Home. As you rightly said said this security or in a way independence of venturing out on our own at odd hours makes us want to be here all the more. Keep writing! 🙂

  3. findmeabreak says:

    Brilliant post! I strongly agree that Dubai is one of the most safest city. I live in Karama where the majority of people staying are males. I use to have grave yard shifts from my previous job which our service van will just drop me off 5 minutes walk away from my flat at 2 am. I can’t avoid feeling really scared at first but I’m glad with the patrolling police cars and bright street lamps I can walk confidently although I’m still very careful trying to avoid dark alleys. I even pass some guys sitting in a bench tallking and they just ignore me. However I try to be observant all the time. Any where in the world there is always some people with evil motives but prevention is always better than cure. So as much as possible try to avoid going home very late. 🙂

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dear Myla,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. Yes, as you say, no harm in staying careful if you are out too late.
      Looks like we live in the same area 🙂


  4. Sharmi says:

    Hello Amrita,
    This is Sharmi, Jaydip’s ex-colleague. I visited Dubai two years back and fell in love with the place. And I totally agree with what all you’ve written. I pray real hard sometimes that I get to live in the city some time in my life. 🙂

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dear Sharmi,
      Great to hear from you. Hope you are doing great. Thanks for agreeing with me.
      Yes it is a city worth falling in love with and as I believe if you wish for something really hard it happens. I am sure one day your wish will come true. Good luck!!


  5. Sumon says:

    Long live free press. Great work.

  6. Joydeep says:

    So very true Amrita, actually feel shit scared when such brutality are inflicted on Girl child’s, have one at home too…… Was in Dubai on a transit visa some time back, yes, the fear of the local police/ authorities actually works there, nice blog you wrote, Cheers

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dear Joydeep,
      Glad to know you agree with me. True if there is fear and respect for authorities a lot of crime can be controlled. Guess Indian police can take a lesson from Dubai police.

      Stay connected

  7. Amitava Nag says:

    Excellent.. There is a saying “Bhoy hoitei bhakti asey” in Bengali.. that is imp. On a diff plane, the so-called advancements in the western sense.. does this actually create a divide between man and woman and make man dump his equal counterpart at the slightest pretext rather comfortably? That is what I tend to believe these days.. poor men.. literally poor.

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Thank you Amitava.
      The debate you have brought up actually has numerous ramifications in the Indian context. Due to financial background, exposure, education and social sensitisation there is a complete gap between one man to another in our society. But as you say they all can be brought on the same plane with the rule of fear – used positively.


  8. Soumyadipta banerjee says:

    Great article. Nicely written. and well illustrated.

  9. You’ve said some very nice things which I completely agree with. I’ve always felt that way. I’ve walked along the Creeks all by myself, taken a cab back home alone etc etc. I’ve never felt Dubai to be unsafe but probably but unfortunately it is becoming a bit dangerous for very young girls – specially school girls and school boys too. This is evident from the circulars that go around the schools regarding the children’s’ safety, their interaction with strangers.

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dear Ishita,
      Thank you for adding a new perspective to safety in Dubai. I sometimes read in the newspapers about teenagers getting into issues with partying, drugs and strangers, who often offer them lifts. But it is also positive that schools are taking the step to coach them about these issues and not leaving everything to the parents.


  10. Tarit says:

    Well written. What would be interesting to know is not just police and judicary in the emirates, but also the penitentiary. I feel our correction system is worse than our crime protection and judiciary. Its not jsut that people get punished, but also the nature of punishment that needs to be spine chilling. In many countries we hear of 50 years imprionment, solitary confinement etc. None exist in India, so many times people come back and repeat the crime after being jailed once. And these guys are more dangerous, as they now are fearless, of being caught and punished.

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dear Tarit,
      You have brought up a very crucial issue in today’s day and age. As you rightly point out after the jail experience more often first-time offenders become hardened criminals and repeat offenders. I don’t know what kind of punishment is meted out to them during their jail term in Dubai but as I say effective policing often helps to prevent crimes altogether. In India you are innocent unless proved guilty by the court but here you are guilty unless proved innocent by the court. I think the two attitudes make a difference also.


  11. amritaspeaks says:

    My friend Moyna Sen made this comment on Facebook I am sharing it here:

    Amrita in fact this is one thing I tell people that I miss the most about Dubai: women’s safety. There have been times when i have taken a cab at 2.30 am from Gulf News and returned home alone, and as you have written, have walked down the roads at 1 am around where I used to live, and I have never felt threatened. And let me tell you, Calcutta is much worse now than how you left it 6 years back. I dont ever take cabs in Calcutta late in the evenings now: just dont feel safe anymore. I actually have cancelled programmes if I did not have my own transport, because no one would come to help you if u r in trouble, a thing that Calcuttans used to be proud of years back. And if you ask me about Delhi, lets not even begin talking about it . Interestingly, or perhaps not so, some friends have told me that Mumbai is also not as safe as it used to be, which is a real pity. Loved your article. keep ’em coming

  12. amritaspeaks says:

    Dipti Das commented on FB:

    So true Amrita! Completely agree with each and every word of yours! Not just Kolkatta, women are so unsafe in cities like Bangalore and Mysore, where I come from. Living in Dubai has been such a blessing. You can go out at any time, wear wateva you are comfortable wearing and be with whoever you want even if it means late in the night. It seriously is a beautiful place especially when compared to India which has become a haven for hooligans, rapists and all sorts of weirdos. Kudos to Dubai, the police and the government here!

  13. amritaspeaks says:

    Comment from Dubai resident Subhomita Dhar on Facebook:
    Totally agree Amrita… I think strict policing is the key… This safety is not there anywhere else in the world, be it India, UK or US.

  14. saarika says:

    nice post Amritha!
    I have a cousin sister. she just got a chance to go to Dubai for 2 year from her company.
    she is working in Hotel and the company wants her to send to Dubai.
    i want to know is it safe for her to go there.

    and please also tell what all terms and conditions should be made clear from company so that she can be safe there .

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dear Saarika,
      Thank you. There is no reason to worry for your cousin. Thousands of women from all nationalities live and work here alone. That way it is extremely safe. Usually hotels have their own accommodation and transport for the staff so that makes life even better I guess. Also a company medical insurance is a must. Good luck to her and hope she enjoys Dubai and the new job.


  15. Ashis Nayak says:

    Hi Amrita must say your work is superbly drafted and pretty useful. I somewhat repenting for my decision to reach out to this place,getting to know all the issues and concerns I have been little offbeat about this place .Spending half of my life in Pune and Mumbai it was always a wish to be placed near home. But the harsh truth about this city got revealed soon. I did missed one good opportunity in Dubai and chose kolkata as I had good notions about Kolkata .Hard to believe the city once known for its laureate and city of joy TAG has now adopted its name as the city of Bhoy and dying city. Though there’s a lot of goodies about kolkata as the food ,nice scapes,religious ceremonies,some good peoples but still the harsher side about the turbulence,people attitude cannot be avoided and safety concerns too.

    Nywez the talks could go on …. but yes by Gods grace I am getting one more chance to Dubai which for sure i am not gonna miss, your article has persuaded me more.

    Post more about Dubai…

    Thanks Again..

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dear Ashis,
      Thank you. People have all kinds of wrong notions about Dubai and the international media often helps in creating these wrong notions. I am glad you are taking up the new opportunity to work in Dubai. I am sure, like me, you will discover a whole new world and learn new values and lessons.

      Good luck!

  16. Ratna says:

    nice post AM..really liked it..I have been in Dubai two times and i really enjoyed staying there safely…nobody will notice you even if you are wearing a half pant or a shorts…this is awsme character of Dubai…nobody will follow you when you r enjoying ur walk at the lone creek (js like we did) or even at the conjested spice mrket area..just after returning from India this was so refreshing..no stalker…but u knw, that it should be..i really really fell in love with Dubai..

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Thanks Ratna,
      For your comment. You have absolutely caught on to what I am trying to say. I guess you can’t help but love this lovely place 🙂 See you again in Dubai.


  17. Chandana Sarkar says:

    I was just introduced to your blog by your uncle Dr. Amiya Banerjee (Amiyada to us). I am enjoying this os much. Thanks for this article. Love to know about senior women in Dubai,or life of seniors ,what do they do about the elderly population? Loved your post on South Point, I think they have a great alumni group who helps their senior teachers, My best friend Late Nandita Dasgupta(Palit) and my cousin Somesh were so appreciative of all they did for them,more than their own relatives.
    Love to read your column. Loved the recent one on RAPE so timely. I really wish we had more awareness on these controversial issues regardless of where we are and who we are.
    Best wishes to you. Look forward to your future blogs.
    Chandana Sarkar

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dear Ms Sarkar,
      Thank you so much for your kind words and for appreciating my blog.
      To answer your first question Dubai has a very minimal elderly population because in the absence of citizenship people usually return home after retirement. The local population of Emiratis have their elderly people and in their culture children take care of their parents at home providing the best medical and health support. So the concept of old age homes has not caught on here yet.
      The elderly among the expat population are mostly visiting parents or some live with their children also on resident permits. Among expats there are some business families where the grandfather moved to Dubai way back in the 40s-50s and built a business from scratch. Elderly people in such business families do treat Dubai as their home and many have been nationalised too and the younger generation run the business while they retire or oversee. So they also form a part of the elderly population here. I hope this answers your question.
      Somesh Sir and nandita aunty were my teachers and they were truly wonderful people. I feel I am fortunate to have gone to South Point school and the alumni, as you mention is indeed doing a wonderful job.
      Thank you once again for dropping by.


  18. Barbie says:

    Thank you so much for this article.Because I was planning to go to dubai with my little daughter.

  19. Jyoti says:

    Nice post Amrita……..

    I am going to Dubai next month for work. I am happy to know that Dubai is safe for women as i live in New Delhi and everyone knows about Delhi now a days.

  20. prasii says:

    thanks amrita
    i am planning to visit dubai soon but was a bit worried about travelling alone .
    this article has helped me to get rid of unwanted doubts

  21. znjavid says:

    Moving from Pakistan where it is common to stare at and pass comments at women, to Dubai was a breath of fresh air for me. You feel a sense of freedom here which is unfortunately missing in my home country. Very well written article.

  22. Hi Amrita
    We back in India really do miss this sense of freedom. Outings even in broad daylight has become a thing of fear. Well written article. My well wishes.

  23. Kaurwaki says:

    Hi Amrita, Thanks a lot!! I will be in Dubai next month andf this post has put to rest my worries around ‘how-safe-is-Dubai’ 🙂

  24. sheetal says:

    Hi Amrita,

    We would be moving to Dubai next month,and i’m really apprehensive about this move.
    Have learnt that there is segregation of boys and girls in the schools & society.is this true?
    Really worried if my kids will be able to adjust…

    Also, if you could please apprise on the law and order situation there.
    Is law lopsided towards the locals there?

    I’m really giving second thoughts is the move is really worth it…

    waitinf for ur reply!!!!
    Sheetal- Delhi

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dera Sheetal,
      Just relax 🙂 Some schools, like in india have separate sections for boys and girls but some are co-ed. there is one scene I still enjoy in Dubai is seeing teenagers having a hearty chat on their way back from tuitions or school, enjoying ice cream.This is something I don’t see kids in Kolkata doing anymore. either i spot them in pairs or they are in groups but in the mall, not having fun at the corner ice cream store.
      As for law if you are not breaking the law you don’t have any reason to worry. You will be surprised at the respect and fear the police command and the respect and understanding they extend towards the people.
      The locals enjoy some privileges but it is their country and culture so we should not in any way hold it against them for doing so.
      Most importantly coming from a place like Delhi you will just love the feeling of safety that you will be able to enjoy.

      I hope this helps


  25. Rahul says:

    HI amrita,

    Me and My wife is trying to move in to dubai..
    We are in IT industry ..so we need to know how it is safe for IT people..


    • amritaspeaks says:

      Hi Rahul,
      Dubai is very safe for everyone. And if in IT you have to keep late nights there is no need to worry about late-night travel Dubai is perfectly safe.

      Good luck.


  26. Rahul says:

    Thanks for prompt reply…

  27. Thanks for your post. It created awareness among people for their safety. But might be ladies are not safe in Dubai. 😦

  28. Spencer says:

    A close friend of mine has been in Dubai for a few days and went out with her friend(also a young women) and they were appalled at how much men were approaching,honking, whistling, and trying to get them to get into random vehicles. She does nit feel safe walking around.

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Hi spencer,
      It is really unfortunate if she has experienced this in Dubai. But people have different experiences and I have written mine. I lived there for eight years and I have felt very safe, always.


  29. harminder132 says:

    Thanks for telling us. :/

  30. harminder132 says:

    Thanks for sharing such an info. 🙂

  31. areena says:

    Thanks for sharing ur experience Amrita I was thinking for Dubai regarding job but I was confused dat I’ll b safe Der or not???? My boyfriend works in Dubai n he wants me to Cum Der… I wanted to know about women’s safety in Dubai n I got dat from u thank u so much……

  32. Parul says:

    Hi Amrita,

    I am originally from India, but have lived in the US for almost 9 years. I love it here, no Surprise!!! Its a safe haven as compared to India where you experience harassment first hand especially if you are a women.My husband got a job offer from Dubai and we are planning to move there by May. This post of yours has calmed all my fears about moving there. Thanks a lot. This is the exact information I needed. I hope someday every women in world could feel the same way about the place she calls home.


  33. Jessa says:

    Hi Amrita. I’m planning to find a job there in Dubai. Can I work there when I am only 20 years old? Thanks.

  34. Urvashi says:

    I love your Article! I’m an teenager who has been born and brought up here and I must say, the safety for women is much than that of india! You have really put all my thoughts abou DXB in your Article!

  35. Deepak says:

    Nice article, but I am wondering if safety is more about perception than reality. I am making a move to Dubai and just searched on Google on sexual assault crimes in Dubai/Sharjah schools (mostly Indian schools). I feel astonished that there are more web links of news articles of child abuses in Dubai as compared to India ! And I read most of the time the bus conductors & drivers escape punishment due to lack of evidence. Is that really true, because I will have to be extremely careful to select a school for my little daughter in that case ?

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Hi Deepak,
      I never said crimes don’t happen but it is the attitude to fight those crimes that matter. yes some incidents of child abuse in school buses did happen after that there are women attendants in school buses and cctv cameras. Do check these out when you put your child in school.

      Good luck with your move


  36. Mayukh says:

    Excellently written article Amrita! I have been a frequent visitor to Dubai and now adopted the city as my current place of work. I resonate your thoughts regarding the safety for women. Also I would like to mention that I don’t feel the urge to feel my wallet in a crowded metro. In Kolkata, it is my foremost responsibility to keep a tab on my accessories & belongings.

    I’m soon moving my wife & kid as soon as I find a flat. Which area do you recommend for Indian family crowd in reasonable budget? Your suggestions will be appreciated.

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Hi Mayukh,
      Thank you for agreeing with me. I am glad to know you are moving with your family to Dubai. As for reasonable that word I guess is completely inapplicable for rents in Dubai at the moment. Lot of Indians live in the Karama, Bur Dubai area. Also Ghusais and al nahada have a huge indian community but all depends on where your workplace is. Then accordingly you should take up a place to minimise travel.


  37. Tammy says:

    Hi, I will be visiting Dubai in February to marry the man of my dreams. He lives and works in Saudi. I am a US Citizen. My family is so afraid of me not coming back, they think something will happen to me. But I hear nothing but good things about Dubai and its safety. My mom is afraid of Sharia Law. There are terrorist attacks happening in a USA, France, and other places. I will be flying for my first time on a plane and want to know how I can assure my family I will be safe. I get picked on a lot about my Muslim fiance by my family. I am following my heart and that is all that matters. My mom read an article that a woman in Dubai went to police saying she was raped and they put her in jail and gave her lashes and did nothing about the rapist. I don’t know how true this is. The media also likes to scare people, I think.

    • amritaspeaks says:

      Dubai is a very modern city but it follows some Muslim laws. Sex outside marriage is punishable offence there. But I presume you will be living in Saudi. I am not too aware about this country since I have never lived
      there. But my friends who have say it is perfectly fine if you stick to the law.
      Good luck on your new life.

  38. Manpreet Kaur says:

    Thnx for share your personal experience .

  39. Nuurill says:

    Dear Amrita,
    Your writings make me feel lot relief. I came here for working and I am someone who really into running. I got to know that there will Dubai Dessert Road Run this Saturday and it’s 40km from downtown. I need to take early taxi like 4am for example in order to collect my running kit and join the run. I hope it is safe for me to take taxi to go to The Sevens alone (return journey). What do you think?

  40. Sarah Alpajora says:

    I should say thank you for this blog! At first I was afraid to work in Dubai because its a multi-culture place, I’m anxious how they treat woman there. Buts this blog gives me a positive insight that will help me decide if I will GO work there. Thank you very much!

  41. Sindhu says:

    Hi Amrita, my husband and me are looking for opportunities in Dubai and I am from Bangalore, India. I am really worried about women safety in Dubai. I have heard stories that a working Indian women is not treated well in Dubai because of the male chauvinist attitude. Is this true ? Our families are concerned about this, the reason we want to move is get some international exposure in our respective fields.

  42. Pratik Kc says:

    Thank you so much for this article,my girl is going to dubai for job and it helped me alot.I was really worried about her but after reading this article I feel a bit of relief now.thanks.

  43. Karin says:

    As a european woman I will be visiting Dubai alone end of this month. I was concerend regarding staying in a hotel alone. After reading your blog I am greteful to you. Thanks a million. Karin

  44. Samanta says:

    Here is an opinion of a stunning blond European woman. I spend a lot of time in Dubai as my home is in North and I hate cold climates. Well yes- Dubai feels quite safe, no problem to stay out at late hours etc. But also I get an enormous amount of intrusive men’s attention, very weird looks and sometimes I even have to be rude to make them leave me alone. And I absolutely do not wonder than every now and then rape of white women occur and I also don’t wonder if many of those cases remain not reported to the police as you don’t want to end up in jail for as they call it “extramarital sex”. Why would a white woman want sex with a pakistani security guy or a taxi driver, even she had a couple of drinks???? But UAE police dare to assume that and that we can all read in UK media- those are not fairy tales.

  45. shivaprasad says:

    Hi, Amrita – I’m writing this on behalf of my daughter by profession a Graphic Designer & Canva Paint Artist, i read all your blog with comments, i got sigh of relief, because she is planning find a oversea job in DUBIA, as also you have spent a good period of time in Dubia can guide (if you don’t mind) which site is best/honest for applying job in your city. I want her to be independent so a little help can give her a break in her profession.

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